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Councilman introduces 3 bills to protect abortion access in Pittsburgh

Councilman introduces 3 bills to protect abortion access in Pittsburgh
Councilman introduces 3 bills to protect abortion access in Pittsburgh 01:54

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — New legislation going before Pittsburgh City Council aims to protect access to abortions in Pittsburgh. 

The three bills come as neighboring states look to limit abortion availability.  

Councilman Bobby Wilson said reproductive rights are a constitutional right after the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Council members Erika Strassburger and Corey O'Connor co-sponsored the bills.  

"No matter what happens in Pennsylvania or with future Supreme Court decisions, here in Pittsburgh we are going to fight for fundamental rights for everyone," Strassburger said.  

The first bill calls for city police and other law enforcement to deprioritize any abortion-related crimes.  

"This would be bottom of the list for what would be prioritized during their shift," Wilson said.  

The second bill would regulate deceptive advertising by pregnancy centers. Similar ordinances have been passed in other cities.   

"States do have the right to regulate deceptive health advertising," Greer Donley with Pitt Law said.  

Organizations like Vision for Life argue that this violates their First Amendment right to free speech and say the health care they offer is not predatory in nature.  

"There's nothing fake about medical treatment or answers to the pregnancy, STI testing and in some centers treatment of the STIs," Chris Humphrey with Vision for Life said.  

The last bill would attempt to shield abortion providers from investigations or prosecutions for providing legal abortion care. Advocates said other states have similar laws, but Pittsburgh would be the first city to pass this.  

Opponents hope Pittsburgh City Council considers outcomes before a vote and feel these bills could lead to more court battles.  

"We'll see you in court. It's my tax dollars. Your tax dollars that are going to pay for a useless lawsuit," Humphrey said.  

Councilman Wilson said the city's law department is looking over the bills. The bills will go to a standing committee next week, and if there is no hold on them, the bills could be voted on two weeks from now.  

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