State Lawmakers Unveil Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health
December 13, 2013- Howard Ondick
HARRISBURG- Speakers are Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County, co-chair of the legislature’s Women’s Health Caucus, Senator Matt Smith of Allegheny County, Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County, and Senator Larry Farnese of Philadelphia.

Senate and House members will introduce a seven-bill package in each chamber in an effort to strengthen the lives of women in Pennsylvania by addressing health and financial issues.

Senator Schwank’s measure, Senate Bill 1167, would ban so-called “revenge porn.” The bill would ban publishing any photo or video identifying another person, who is naked or engaging in a sexual act, without the person’s consent. Senator Schwank objects to the term “revenge porn,” saying it’s not a prank, it’s an invasion of privacy and harassment.

Senator Smith is introducing Senate Bill 1209 which would require employers 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.

Senator Teplitz is introducing Senate Bill 1212, intended to strengthen Pennsylvania’s Pay Equity Law to eliminate the gender wage gap and clarify and update the legal standards for pay-equity lawsuits.

Senator Farnese’s measure, Senate Bill 1208, would create a 15-foot buffer zone around health care facilities where picketing, patrolling or demonstrating that blocks a patients’ access to the facility is banned. Some cities including Pittsburgh have already passed such laws.

The other bills deal with sanitary conditions for nursing mothers; increased eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings; and equitable protections for domestic violence victims.

The legislative package was unveiled by a number of Senate and House members, both Democrats and Republicans. They were joined by representatives from various women’s advocacy organizations including the Women’s Law Project, PA NOW, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Violence.

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