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Under a Regressive Federal Agenda, State Protections are More Important Than Ever

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Fighting for state and local protections is more important than ever, given the regressive federal agenda. In these times, we have to think globally, and resist locally.

When the phrase “women’s health” is uttered in the halls of the Capitol in Harrisburg, it is often simply code for yet another abortion ban. Currently, Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to pass Senate Bill 3, one of the most severe abortion restrictions in the country.

Meanwhile, women’s health and economic security in Pennsylvania ranks among the worst in the country.

Pennsylvania has 1,237 pages of abortion-related regulations, and yet in Philadelphia, pregnancy-related mortality has more than doubled from the 1980s to the 2000s. Across the state and across the country, black women are at least three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women due to a constellation of factors.

Like the PA Campaign for Women’s Health on Facebook

Working women in Pennsylvania lack basic protections. Our equal pay law is so broken that experts estimate that without corrective policy intervention, Pennsylvania women will not earn equal pay until 2072. Pennsylvania lawmakers in the Women’s Health Caucus are working on bills to close the loopholes. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania lawmakers not in the Women’s Health Caucus are trying to fool Pennsylvanians by floating a fake fix.

In Pennsylvania, some pregnant workers are still fired for asking for a glass of water at work.

Women working at small businesses have less protection against sexual harassment than employees of bigger companies. As reports of targeted harassment of abortion providers are rising, right-wing groups are trying to knock down buffer zone in Pittsburgh.

The Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health was founded to advocate for solutions to these problems. The Campaign is a growing collaboration of more than 55 local, state and national organizations working together to improve women’s health and economic security in Pennsylvania by calling for evidence-based policies that promote equal access to reproductive healthcare and workplace equality.

To be sure, we have pro-choice, pro-evidence champions for women’s health in the state Legislature, and we will do everything in our power to preserve and protect the rights we have already have while forging ahead closer to legal equality for women, despite the opposition.

Keep up with our progress easily by liking the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health on Facebook, where we’ll post updates on our progress and calls to action.

Religious Support for the PA Agenda for Women’s Health

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Our faith-based group, the Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network, is proud to have been one of two faith-based groups invited to the May 11 press conference in Harrisburg where the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health was presented to the General Assembly.

As Unitarian Universalists we support the inherent worth and dignity of every person. And we understand that women in Pennsylvania do not always have access to healthy conditions or fairness in the workplace. Therefore, the package of more than 13 bills contained in this agenda are critical for both promoting healthy families and contributing to Pennsylvania’s overall economic strength.

We feel it is vital that liberal religious voices support the bipartisan effort behind the PA Agenda for Women’s Health so that our legislators can continue moving Pennsylvania forward.

LIZ PERKINS
Squirrel Hill

The writer is co-chair, Reproductive Justice Team, Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network.