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Pennsylvania Bill Regarding Abortion Restrictions (SB 888)

This law was last updated on Feb 6, 2017

This law is Anti–Choice




SB 888


Failed to Pass


Jun 6, 2016


Co-sponsors: 20
Primary Sponsors: 1
Total Sponsors: 21


20-Week Bans, Dilation and Evacuation Bans, Later Abortion, Waiting Periods and Forced Counseling

Full Bill Text

SB 888 would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, as well as abolish “dismemberment abortions,” except in the case of a medical emergency.

Medical Consultation

Current law in Pennsylvania requires the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed to have a private, medical consultation either with the physician who is to perform the abortion or with the referring physician. The consultation needs to be in a place, at a time and of a duration reasonably sufficient to enable the physician to determine whether, based on his best clinical judgment, the abortion is necessary.

SB 888 would specify that this consultation needs to be in-person.

20-Week Ban

Current law in Pennsylvania prohibits a person from performing or inducing an abortion upon another person when the gestational age of the fetus is 24 weeks. SB 888 would amend current law to prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion upon another person when the gestational age of the fetus is 20 weeks.

“Dismemberment Abortion” Ban

SB 888 would prohibit a person from performing or attempting to perform a “dismemberment abortion” upon another individual when the gestational age of the fetus is less than 20 weeks unless the physician and a second licensed physician both certify in writing that there is a medical emergency.

The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” as the act of knowingly and purposefully causing the death of an ‘unborn child’ and extracting the ‘unborn child’ one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments. The term does not include an abortion which is exclusively performed through suction curettage.

Any individual who violates this provision would be committing a felony of the third degree.

This law targets a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D and E), which is frequently used during second-trimester abortions. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an abortion using suction aspiration can be performed up to 14 weeks’ gestation, but after 14 weeks the D and E procedure must be used to perform an abortion. As such, dilation and evacuation bans, depending upon their language, may ban all surgical abortion past 14 weeks’ gestation. (Source.)


Similar to HB 1948.