On March 24, the University’s Pride & Gender Equity (PAGE) Center had guest speakers discuss the current state of abortion access in the United States and in Pennsylvania and the future of Roe v. Wade.
Arielle Catron, the PAGE Center Director, had Corrine Bertram an SU psychology professor and Sara Grove an SU political science professor speak at the event. The third speaker, Elicia Gonzales was from the Abortion Liberation Fund of Pennsylvania (ALF), which was founded in 1985.
Gonzales highlighted the Hyde Amendment, a federal anti-abortion law that bars Medicaid and other federal funds from funding abortions, even if the pregnancy occurred through rape or incest.
“When people cannot use their Medicaid for their healthcare, it proportionately hurts women, people of color, transgender people, and people of low income,” Gonzales said. She also mentioned how the Abortion Liberation Fund helps raises money for those seeking abortions, but even that is not enough, she said.
Grove, who is also an attorney and teaches constitutional law, brought up the Constitution. “The right to privacy and autonomy do not exist in the Constitution,” she said.
While it appears that is not the language of someone who favors abortion rights, Grove mentioned how Harry Blackmun, the Supreme Court justice who wrote the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, used to work in the medical field before serving on the court and had a clear understanding of science and pregnancies.
Gonzales then addressed the abortion laws in Pennsylvania. More specifically, the Abortion Control Act. Though the act changed since the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, many of its provisions still stand to this day, such as a 24-hour waiting period for someone who wants an abortion, and minors needing parental consent. Upon criticizing the act, she brought up how there is not any healthcare for those who want to keep their pregnancies, and that Pennsylvania lacks female legislators in the state government.
Lack of abortion care was also brought up. “Eighty-six percent of Pennsylvania counties lack an abortion provider,” Catron said. “Including Cumberland and Franklin counties.”
These counties are where the Shippensburg borough lies. The only type of prenatal care in Shippensburg is the Pregnancy Ministries Inc., which is funded by anti-abortion organizations, according to Catron.
The discussion turned to the Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard back in December 2021. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, deals with Mississippi banning abortion procedures after 15 weeks, which violates Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. If the court sides with Mississippi, it could mean the end of Roe vs. Wade. If that happens, people will flock to Pennsylvania for abortion access.
“Thomas is an originalist,” Grove said, referencing his anti-abortion views. “Coney Barrett will want Roe v. Wade to fall.” Concern for the future of Roe v. Wade came during the nominations of Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett.
Anyone who wants to support funding for abortion rights is able to donate to the ALF’s website. Free condoms are also provided by the PAGE Center and the Etter Health Center has a vending machine that offers Plan B for $25.
For more information about reproductive health visit the PAGE Center website or the Etter Health Center website.