New family planning services rules proposed

Sen. Judith Schank, D-Berks

A member of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus has introduced new legislation regulating family planning services.

Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, has introduced Senate Bill 1259, which changes the state’s Health Care Facilities Act to cover all providers of pregnancy-related services, which would affect both abortion providers and crisis pregnancy centers.

“People who are seeking family planning support deserve the highest level of care that meets the standards of health and safety,” Schwank wrote in her legislative memorandum. “This legislation will ensure that there are safeguards and securities for any organization offering pregnancy-related services by requiring all organizations to meet health care related regulations and patient safety provisions. This bill would also ensure that organizations receiving taxpayer dollars are required to disclose the use of those dollars in the advertisement, and ensure information provided during the provision of their services is medically accurate.”

Schwank also proposes that any health care services, including pregnancy tests, counseling and post-delivery support, provided by the nonprofit agency and its subcontractors and service providers comply with the nationally recognized standards published by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Any program training and materials from the nonprofit agency and their subcontractors and service providers would also have to include the full range of contraceptive options approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Agencies that violate the proposal would be ineligible for state funding or tax incentives.

“With Pennsylvania’s maternal mortality rate on the rise, it is our responsibility to protect the health outcomes of pregnancies for our constituents,” Schwank wrote. “Prenatal and postpartum services are vitally important to those outcomes and should be subject to stringent health and safety requirements from qualified professionals. Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation to guarantee that all people seeking family planning support, especially our most vulnerable populations, are given the highest standard of care from state-funded providers.”


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