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Pa. State Lawmakers Consider Safety Measures For Abortion Clinics

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(Dr. Kermit Gosnell's office, doing business as Women’s Medical Society, in West Philadelphia.  File photo)

(Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s office, doing business as Women’s Medical Society, in West Philadelphia. File photo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania lawmakers are moving forward with legislation to address the abuses uncovered by the grand jury report into a West Philadelphia abortion clinic.

A state Senate committee held a hearing last week on bills that would address safety at abortion clinics. Members heard from, among others, Curtiss Hannum from the Philadelphia Women’s Center, who, while acknowledging that the previous system for handling complaints about clinics was ineffective, urged lawmakers to be careful in efforts to improve it, “While we recognize and support that anonymity is necessary to protect patient privacy, it also makes the system, unfortunately, subject potentially to abuse.”

Another clinic operator warned about the potential of abuse from excessively frequent inspections. The chair of the Senate committee expects legislation to advance next month.

Last week, a state House committee approved a bill that would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as outpatient surgery centers. Abortion rights advocates are concerned. Andy Hoover, with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said, “Regulations in House Bill 574 would lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in building alterations and staffing changes for clinics. That would close clinics.”

Hoover questions the need for new laws, saying what happened at Philadelphia’s Gosnell clinic was a failure of government, not a failure of the law.

Reported by Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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