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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Pennsylvania imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which place medically unnecessary and costly requirements on doctors and can decrease the availability of abortion care for women. Pennsylvania has such regulations, including:

Any medical facility - including a private physician's office - in which an abortion is provided must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme not required of other medical providers. 28 Pa. Code § 29.43(a).  In addition to meeting all the requirements for ambulatory surgical facilities- including administrative, professional qualification, patient testing, and physical-plant requirements-abortion providers must also comply with dozens of additional administrative rules. 35 Pa. Stat. § 448.806; 28 Pa. Code § 29.33, .38; 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3207, .40 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 305(c), 315(a)-(c) (Enacted 2002; Last Amended 2011).  Such facilities are also subject to at least one unannounced inspection per year.  35 Pa. Stat. § 448.813.

All providers must be located within 30 minutes of a hospital that has agreed in writing to "supply emergency services" to the clinic's patients.  28 Pa. Code § 29.33(10). No exception is made for rural areas, and nothing in the statute requires a hospital to agree to such an arrangement.

Pennsylvania has a partially unconstitutional requirement that all abortion services after the first trimester be provided in a hospital that maintains an "obstetrical service" in compliance with state regulations.  28 Pa. Code § 29.34.

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a second-trimester hospitalization requirement unconstitutionally burdens a woman's right to choose an abortion.  Akron v. Akron Ctr. for Reprod. Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Pennsylvania prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician or doctor of osteopathy licensed to practice medicine in the state may provide abortion care. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3203 (Enacted 1982; Last Amended 1990); 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3204 (Enacted 1982; Last Amended 1990).

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