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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 5, 2015 11:46 AM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Freedom of Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would enact statewide protection for reproductive health care facilities.

This legislation will provide safe access to reproductive health care facilities, prevent harassment and intimidation of patients and clinic staff, and combat deliberate obstruction of clinic entrances.

Patients seeking family planning and reproductive health services are often verbally and physically harassed and intimidated. As a volunteer escort for women into health care facilities, I have seen first-hand the potential for violent confrontations between patients and demonstrators.

This legislation, which us modeled after the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, 18 U.S.C. §248, empowers local and state law enforcement authorities to recognize and respond to threats to the safety of reproductive health services care providers and patients, and to maintain safe access to reproductive health care facilities.

This legislation prohibits the intentional use or threat of force and physical obstruction that injures, intimidates, or interferes with a person seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services. It also prohibits intentional property damage of a facility providing reproductive health services. In addition, this legislation provides for injunctive relief, statutory or compensatory damages, and civil penalties against individuals who engage in conduct that violates the Act. It does not ban peaceful protest and does not interfere with the First Amendment rights of lawful protesters.

This legislation is part of the Agenda for Women’s Health recently announced by the bicameral, bipartisan Women’s Health Caucus.

Please join me in sponsoring this important Women’s Health initiative.

Introduced as SB1105