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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 25, 2017 11:42 AM
From: Representative Matthew D. Bradford
To: All House members
Subject: Ensuring Safe Access to Health Care Facilities
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to empower local and state law enforcement authorities to recognize and respond to threats to the safety of abortion care providers and patients, and protect safe access to reproductive health care facilities. This important legislative proposal is part of the overall Agenda for Women’s Health, and I hope you will consider signing on as a cosponsor.

My legislation would prohibit (1) the use of physical force, threat of physical force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure, intimidate, interfere with or attempt to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person who is obtaining reproductive health services or providing reproductive health services; and (2) the intentional damage or destruction of a reproductive health care facility.

Specifically, the type of behaviors the law would prohibit could include:
  • Intentionally blockading the entrance to a reproductive health care facility;
  • Intentionally blocking the sidewalk or driveways around a reproductive health care facility;
  • Assaulting individuals who are giving or receiving reproductive health care ;
  • Making it unreasonably difficult or dangerous to enter or exit a reproductive health care facility (for example, placing glass shards or nails on a clinic driveway);
  • Vandalizing a reproductive health care facility (includes gluing locks, arson, chemical attacks such as butyric acid);
  • Threatening physical violence to reproductive health care staff, doctors, patients, or escorts (such as anthrax threats, bomb threats, spoken threats of physical harm); and
  • Stalking a clinic employee or reproductive health care provider

This legislation would not prohibit peaceful protests, nor would it prohibit hate speech, as long as the speech is not an incitement to violence or a true threat.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 14 states and the District of Columbia prohibit blockading, stalking, vandalism, or other obstructive or assaultive behavior aimed at abortion care providers and abortion care facilities. This legislation will bring Pennsylvania in line with those other states that strive to provide reasonable safety and security measures for all health care providers and patients.

Please contact Kim Hileman of my office with any questions you may have at khileman@pahouse.net or 787-8529.

Thank you.