23 Aug 2014
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Op-Ed: Deely's Lies are 'Downright Despicable'

Rep. Justin Simmons (R-131) shares his view on women's rights legislation in Pennsylvania.

Op-Ed: Deely's Lies are 'Downright Despicable'

Over the past several months, my opponent and his allies have attacked me for things as untrue as cutting funding that doesn't exist (the temporary federal stimulus money) to as ridiculous as me wanting to hurt Social Security and Medicare (which are federal programs over which I have no control).  However,  the recent attack on me claiming I would put the health of Pennsylvania's women in danger has crossed the line to downright despicable. 

Let's start with the false attack that I voted to shutdown Planned Parenthood clinics.  I did not.  The House of Representatives passed legislation (SB732) directly in response to atrocities committed at the "Philadelphia House of Horrors" clinic of Dr. Robert Gosnall.   For those who forget, this is the clinic where one woman and seven delivered children were murdered, and other women were injured due to a total lack of professional standards and care.

This law actually better protects the health and welfare of those seeking an abortion by requiring clinics to meet minimum safety standards and submit to regular inspections.  Responsible clinics will continue to be available to the public; irresponsible clinics will no longer be allowed to threaten the health of Pennsylvania's women.  In the end, this legislation passed with strong bi-partisan support; in fact, nearly 75% of the House voted in favor of it.

Now let's talk about the "notorious" ultrasound bill (HB1077.)  Again, this is an attack without a foundation. 

I was an original co-sponsor of this legislation, as were more than 100 Democrats and Republicans in the House.  How, you may ask, could more than 100 House members sponsor such egregious legislation?  The answer, of course, is they didn't.

The primary goal of this legislation at the time that I, and so many others, added our names was to ensure that women have the opportunity to view an ultrasound if they so choose.  Currently, doctors may take an ultrasound prior to an abortion without offering the woman the results to view. 

Under current state law, the gestational age of a fetus is to be determined before an abortion is performed.  Further, medical professionals agree that the standard of care for determining gestational age is an ultrasound because of its accuracy.  HB1077, in its original form was built upon these two facts to simply provide someone seeking an abortion further information if they decided they wanted it. However, HB1077 changed from its original form.

Through the legislative process, HB1077 grew to include the invasive techniques publicized across the state.  At the same time, medical providers who had supported the original intent of HB1077 began to raise concerns. 

In response to the concerns of these medical professionals, as well as many constituents,   and because the legislation had changed from its original intent, I withdrew my name as a sponsor from HB1077.

I believe this is exactly the sort of thing the people of the 131st District want in their State Representative: someone willing to constantly review legislation, listen to informed voices and make careful decisions on that legislation as it evolves.  That is what I did.

Taking away the factual repudiation of these baseless attacks, there is also the logical response.  Does anyone really think that I, or any other reasonable person, would support anything that would endanger their wives, sisters and mothers?  I know I would not, and I don't believe that my opponent and his allies would either. 

Sometimes, common sense like this is all you need to see through the hyper-partisan political attacks that my opponent and his allies continue to deploy.


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