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From left to right: Rep. Mike Schlossberg; Adrian Shanker, Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Center; Rep. Peter Schweyer; Signe Espinoza, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates; Moriah Hathaway, PA Commission for Women; Melissa Reed, Planned Parenthood Keystone; Attorney General Josh Shapiro


Planned Parenthood Keystone, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and coalition partners hold press conference as Supreme Court hears challenges to Texas Senate Bill 8.

Allentown, PA – Today, as the Supreme Court heard challenges to Texas SB8 from abortion providers and the Department of Justice, Planned Parenthood Keystone, joined by elected officials, partner organizations, and community members, spoke out in support of abortion access – condemning the Supreme Court’s continued inaction and the unconstitutional abortion ban.

“Every day SB 8 is in place is one more day of cruelty, and this cannot stand,” said Melissa Reed, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Keystone. Today’s Supreme Court hearings are happening two months after the enactment of the extreme Texas abortion ban – restricting abortion at 6 weeks of pregnancy and deputizing citizens to enforce the law. Since September 1st, thousands of Texans have been stripped of access to essential healthcare and forced to travel hundreds of miles and across state lines to access abortion services. During the conference, Attorney General Josh Shapiro addressed the crowd, “I am here today to state clearly that abortion is health care. It is under attack here in Pennsylvania and across our country.”

Advocates in Pennsylvania know these types of laws are not limited to Texas. “Pennsylvania is not immune to what is happening in Texas…the fight is in Texas and it is also here,” said Signe Espinoza, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood PA Advocates. The Supreme Court’s decision to hear oral arguments regarding Texas SB8 comes exactly one month before another major hearing on abortion access out of Mississippi, which directly challenges Roe v Wade. Abortion advocates in Pennsylvania are urging community members and lawmakers to pay attention. “It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure abortion stays accessible, safe, and legal,” stated Moriah Hathaway, Executive Director of PA Commission for Women.

During the press conference, State Representatives Mike Schlossberg and Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Adrian Shanker, echoed shared sentiments that abortion is essential health care. “Laws like senate bill 8 are about criminalizing health care” exclaimed Schlossberg. “It’s essential to all of our health, and all of our lives, that people have access to the care that their bodies need, including access to abortion care,” said Shanker. State Representative Peter Schweyer emphasize the right to privacy in a patient’s health care decisions, including abortion, and criticized the intervention of the Texas state legislature. “Today in our nation’s capital, there are people arguing that the fundamental principle of privacy for a person’s health care decisions should involve the whims of a state government,” said Schweyer.

While the outcome of today’s Supreme Court hearings is still unclear, supporters of reproductive health and rights across Pennsylvania have a unified message for the US Supreme Court, as Melissa Reed summarized in her closing statements “SB 8 is a heinous and blatantly unconstitutional abortion ban that should have never been allowed to take effect. The truth is that it is past time for the Supreme Court to act.”

A recording of the press conference can be accessed here.

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Planned Parenthood Keystone (PPKeystone) is a non-partisan 501 c(3) organization that operates 9 health centers serving a 37-county region, providing essential health care services and sexuality education. Medical services include birth control, annual gynecological exams, STD testing and treatment, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and options referrals, abortion care, cancer screening and treatment, confidential HIV/AIDS testing, male services and more. Health centers are located in Allentown, Bensalem, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Quakertown, Reading, Warminster, Wilkes-Barre, and York. Visit www.ppkeystone.org for more information. PPKeystone is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America – the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider.