by Steven Ertelt
August 14, 2006
Harrisburg, PA (LifeNews.com) — A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel ruled 5-0 in favor of a line-item veto by Gov. Ed Rendell of language in the state budget saying that the $8.8 million allocated to family planning cannot go to any agency that does abortions or refers women to abortion businesses. Rendell, a pro-abortion Democrat removed the pro-life provision from the budget.
The state legislature approved the budget and the family planning provision last year to make sure no federal family planning monies were funneled through the state Department of Public Welfare to fund abortions.
The legislature has subjected state family planning funds to the provision since 1996, when it adopted a law saying the state money "shall not be used to promote, perform or refer for abortions, or engage in abortion counseling."
But Rendell claimed putting the provision on federal family planning funds the state receives would have violated the state constitution and federal law. He also said he thought the provision would end up costing the state between $18 million and $27 million in federal funds.
In September 2005, State House Speaker John Perzel and State Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, both Republicans, filed a lawsuit to uphold the legislature’s provision.
However, the judicial panel dismissed the case on Thursday, thus upholding Rendell’s line-item veto.
"The governor’s powers of disapproval are no less extensive than, and are entirely coexistent with, the General Assembly’s power to enact legislation in the first place," President Judge James Gardner Colins wrote, according to an AP report.
"In other words, if the General Assembly can put it in, the governor can take it out," Colins added.
The decision said the state legislature should attempt to override the veto if it disagrees with Rendell’s decision rather than challenging his right to line-item veto the family planning-abortion provision.