Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approves legislation to ensure abortion rights

PITTSBURGH — In a seven to zero unanimous vote, Pittsburgh’s City Council has approved legislation to ensure abortion rights. Legal experts from the Women’s Law Group called Tuesday’s decision a victory in safeguarding reproductive health in the post-Roe v. Wade world.

“What’s significant about it is that Pittsburgh is truly out in front of the pack by adopting these bills,” said the interim Co-Executive Director for the Women’s Law Project, Sue Frietsche.

The package introduced by Councilman Bobby Wilson came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

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“Once the leak came out, we wanted to respond in a way that would put Pittsburgh at the front of providing health care to people,” said Wilson.

Included in the package are three reproductive bills. The first would protect Pennsylvania abortion providers from out-of-state investigations — a shield law.

“It protects anyone involved in that space in terms of doctors, nurses, anyone who would provide your health care,” said Wilson.

A measure that law expert Frietsche said is critical as neighboring states West Virginia and Ohio have banned abortions and significantly regulated some medications.

“What the shield law does is it ensures that other states will be less able to reach into Pennsylvania and to inflict their laws on our people,” said Frietsche.

The second measure would ensure that if Pennsylvania moves to ban abortions that criminal charges will be a low priority for law enforcement. The third and final bill will make sure that pregnancy crisis centers’ advertising is truthful — for example, advertised medical providers must be present and all options must be presented.

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“If you are advertising a certain service, you should receive that service,” said Wilson.

Supporters of the legislation say while they’ll celebrate today as a win, they will push to have the state constitution ensure abortion rights and Medicaid coverage.

“These are fundamental rights that shouldn’t be subject to the whim of a majority or to shifting political sentiment,” said Frietsche.

These measures will go into effect immediately if the state attempts to ban abortion.