HARRISBURG, December 11, 2013 – State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) today introduced Senate Bill 1208 to create buffer zones around Pennsylvania’s reproductive health care clinics so women can safely receive their medical services. The bill, which was announced in conjunction with a larger package of bills addressing the health needs of women, is designed to not only ensure a woman’s unimpeded access to medical services but the protection of a protester’s First Amendment rights.

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“As someone who has escorted women through a crowd of protesters so they can access their family planning and reproductive health services, I have seen firsthand the verbal and physical harassment and intimidation that they have to endure,” said Farnese. “The walk from the curb to the clinic door can often be made torturous because of demonstrators, so I want to put a stop to that by creating a buffer zone around Pennsylvania’s health care clinics so women can safely access all of the services that are provided to them under the law.”

Farnese’s legislation creates a buffer zone extending 15 feet from any portion of an entrance to or exit from the clinic’s driveway or parking lot. Anyone found guilty of violating the zone would be fined at least $100 or serve no more than 10 days in jail for the first offense, be fined at least $150 or serve no more than 20 days in jail for the second offense and be fined at least $300 or serve between 30 and 90 days in jail for the third offense. All punishments also include the repayment of court costs.

Currently, Pennsylvania does not have statewide legislation for protective buffer zones, but Harrisburg and Pittsburgh do. Companion legislation is being introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery).

Some of the other pieces of legislation that were announced in conjunction with Sen. Farnese’s bill include:

  • Pregnancy accommodations in the workplace (Sen. Smith, Rep. Painter) – A proposal requiring employers to provide accommodations to pregnant employees with temporary pregnancy-related conditions so they can remain employed.
  • Wage security (Sen. Teplitz, Reps. Molchany and Sims) – A bill to eliminate the current 23 percent gender wage gap.
  • Medical professional conscientious right to refuse to deliver medically inaccurate information (Rep. Frankel) – A bill protecting the physician-patient relationship from political intrusion.
  • Women’s Veterans Advisory Committee (Sen. Schwank, Rep. DeLissio) – This would appoint female representatives to House and Senate committees on veterans affairs and the Pennsylvania State Veterans Commission.
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Senator Larry Farnese was first elected to the Senate in 2008 to represent Pennsylvania’s First Senatorial District which contains some of Philadelphia’s most unique and vibrant neighborhoods from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and South Philadelphia, Center City, the Navy Yard, Philadelphia International Airport. Senator Farnese serves as the Democratic Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee. He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. His District Office is located at 1802 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia, PA (ph: 215-952-3121) and his Harrisburg Office is located at 543 Main Capitol in Harrisburg, PA (ph: 717-787-5662). More information about the Senator and his initiatives is available at www.senatorfarnese.com.



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