Pennsylvania lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk Tuesday to protect unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions and prohibit abortions after 20 weeks.
State Senate Bill 3 passed the Pennsylvania House on Tuesday in a bipartisan 121 to 70 vote. The legislation would prohibit brutal dismemberment abortions that tear nearly fully-formed unborn babies limb from limb while their hearts are beating and ban abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies can feel pain.
Wolf, who has close ties to the abortion industry, said he will veto the measure.
Some of the strongest supporters of the bill were female lawmakers. State Rep. Kathy Rapp was one of the key advocates.
During a heated debate Tuesday on the House floor, state Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-York, urged her fellow lawmakers to consider the rights of preborn babies as well as their mothers, the AP reports.
“As people try to frame this debate in terms of women’s rights, the question that begs to be asked is, what about the rights of those pre-born women in the womb being exterminated?” Keefer said.
Another pro-life female lawmaker, state Rep. Judy Ward, asked politicians to consider that babies are surviving outside the womb before 24 weeks of pregnancy, the current abortion limit in Pennsylvania.
“If you have any conscience, the only vote you can make is a yes vote,” Ward said, according to NPR Pittsburgh.
Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, thanked lawmakers for voting to protect preborn babies from the heinous practice of dismemberment abortion.
“Women throughout the Commonwealth have been asking me when brutal dismemberment abortions will finally end in Pennsylvania,” Gallagher told LifeNews. “We are thankful that both the Pennsylvania House and the Senate have heard the voices of those women.”
Tom Shaheen, vice president for policy of Pennsylvania Family Institute, also thanked lawmakers and pointed to stories of very premature babies who have survived before the current legal abortion limit.
“Modern medicine has advanced greatly since the Commonwealth set up its abortion law back in 1989,” Shaheen said. “Today, the majority of children born at 24 weeks – like Emma from York and Will from Pittsburgh – survive. That’s exactly why Pennsylvania needs Senate Bill 3.”
Here’s more from the AP:
Opponents argued that parents should be allowed to make their own abortion decisions with medical input and by consulting their sources of spiritual advice.
“We have to be careful in this body that we don’t put an ideology on everybody and say that everybody has to live like this,” said Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny.
Planned Parenthood said the bill would make Pennsylvania’s abortion law among the nation’s most restrictive.
Far from radical, the legislation would make Pennsylvania abortion laws closer to those in the rest of the world. The United States is one of only seven countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, a fact confirmed by the Washington Post fact checker
“Shame on Governor Wolf for pledging to veto this popular, compassionate legislation. His extreme pro-abortion stance is radically out of step with Pennsylvanians as he prepares to face the voters in 2018,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List.
A handful of states also have passed dismemberment abortion bans, which are the brainchild of the National Right to Life Committee.
The bill also is modeled, in part, after the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which 16 states have passed into law. The legislation prohibits later-term abortions after 20 weeks as medical advancements push the line of viability earlier in pregnancy and as substantial medical evidence indicates unborn babies at this stage are capable of experiencing pain.
ACTION: Contact Gov. Tom Wolf here.