In December 2013, Pennsylvanians for Choice joined with other pro-choice organizations in applauded the Women’s Health Caucus, a bipartisan caucus of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, as it unveiled the first phase of a comprehensive Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health. Led by Representative Dan Frankel and Senators Judy Schwank and Chuck McIlhinney, the Caucus is taking a proactive, positive approach to helping women by addressing a wide range of legal and policy barriers to women’s health and equality. See Legislative Action for a list of the bills and links to current status.
Below is a list of bills that are part of the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health as it appears on Rep. Dan Frankel’s web site:
- Workplace accommodations for pregnant women: H.B. 1892, sponsored by Rep. Mark Painter, D-Montgomery; and S.B. 1209, sponsored by Sen. Matt Smith, D-Allegheny. This legislation would require a covered employer to make reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions unless those accommodations would prove an undue hardship on the employer’s operations.
- Sanitary conditions for nursing mothers: H.B. 1895, sponsored by Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery; Senate introduction pending. This legislation would require employers to provide a private, sanitary space for employees who need to express breast milk. It would fix two main loopholes in federal law. It would apply to all employees, including those that are exempt from federal overtime provisions. Secondly, it would require employers to provide a private, sanitary space for mothers to express milk beyond one year after birth. The legislation mirrors the federal provision that exempts small employers from these requirements if they would present an undue hardship to the employer.
- Ensuring access to health care facilities: H.B. 1891, sponsored by Rep. Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery; and S.B. 1208, sponsored by Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila. This legislation would create 15-foot buffer zones around health care facilities where picketing, patrolling or demonstrating that blocks patients’ access to the facilities would be banned. Some cities such as Pittsburgh and some states such as Colorado and Massachusetts have passed such laws already.
- Pay equity legislation: H.B. 1890, sponsored by Reps. Erin Molchany, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila.; and S.B. 1212, sponsored by Sens. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin, and Anthony Williams, D-Phila. This legislation would clarify and update the legal standards for pay-equity lawsuits.
- Increased eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings: H.B. 1900, sponsored by Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware; Senate introduction pending. This legislation would allow women between ages of 30 and 65 to qualify for the state Healthy Woman Program if they meet all other applicable requirements.
- Equitable protections for domestic violence victims: H.B. 1796, sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery; Senate introduction pending. This legislation would ban municipal ordinances that penalize crime victims for calling for help.
- Stop intimate partner harassment (ban “revenge by invasion of privacy”): sponsored by Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks; and S.B. 1167, sponsored by Schwank. This legislation would ban publishing any photo or video identifying another person, who is naked or engaging in a sexual act, without that person’s consent.