Victories in our movement for a just future

Our movement for a just future where we eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all takes many forms: it could be participating in a rally for a cause you believe in, making a public comment at a local school board meeting, or even sharing ideas and insights with your networks to challenge them with new ideas.

And while every action at any level is vital for our mission, we are also heartened by movement at the policy level to help members of our community in need.

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Coalition to Advance Respect (PCAR), YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is working to support victim survivors and anyone impacted by sexual abuse, harassment, and assault, including prioritizing the passage of legislation that can enhance protections and care.

In the past year alone, we’re proud to uplift the passage of these important pieces of legislation that will help do just that:

2023 Legislative Victories

No Pelvic Exam without Consent a. Act 31 of 2023: Patient consent is now required for the performance of pelvic, rectal, and prostate examinations while a patient is under anesthesia for unrelated procedures. (HB 507 – Fiedler (D)

Removing Derogatory Terms from the School Code of 1949 a. Act 33 of 2023: Removes outdated language to create a more inclusive overview of physical and mental impairments. (HB 301 – Harkins (D))

Dignity for Incarcerated Women a. Act 47 of 2023: Requires reporting when a correctional facility places a pregnant, labor, or postpartum individual in restraints or restrictive housing. (HB 900 – Cephas (D)

Expanding Access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners a. Act 59 of 2023: Creates a list, available via the Internet, of available hospitals with SANE nurse staff. Requires hospitals to report any changes to their SANE nurse capabilities. (SB 414 – Vogel (R))

Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Guardianship Laws a. Act 61 of 2023: Creates a legal right to counsel for a possibly incapacitated person going through the guardian legal process. Further, the act imposes requirements for a person who is seeking guardianship of three or more people. (SB 506 – Baker (R)

Ensuring Victims of Human Trafficking have Access to Services a. Act 39 of 2023: Provides further definitions for the offense of trafficking in individuals and for the offense of patronizing a victim of sexual servitude. (SB 44 – Dush (R)

Local Proclamations

Over the past month, we have been honored to join with local governments across our County to declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

Read the proclamation from Lancaster City Council

Only the beginning

Our movement continues with important pieces of legislation at both local and national levels, and we need your support to help make sure they are passed.

Just last month, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced HB1769 to limit the access to eviction records for prospective renters. And in the US House of Representatives, legislation has been introduced by representative Jahana Hayes to declare racism as a public health crisis.

Whatever your level of involvement, we need your ideas, your insights, and your passion to help continue our victories–big and small–and grow our movement. We are proud to be in community with you and will continue to unite with you until our mission is met!

Read more of YWCA Lancaster’s Policy Positions

Join with your community on April 27