Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf assured pro-abortion lawmakers Thursday that he will “uphold Pennsylvanians’ right” to abort their unborn babies without limits.
Penn Watch reports Wolf spoke at a press conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus to criticize three pro-life bills that advanced in the state House earlier this week. Joining him was state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who tried to force nuns to pay for contraception that may cause abortions in their employee health plans.
“I am reaffirming my commitment to uphold Pennsylvanians’ right to make their own health decisions,” Wolf said. “Politics do not belong in a doctor’s office, and there is absolutely no place for politicians to come between an individual and their doctor.”
Earlier this week, the governor promised to veto any pro-life legislation that reaches his desk.
One of the bills that passed, the Down Syndrome Protection Act (state House Bill 1500), would prohibit discriminatory abortions on unborn babies with Down syndrome. It would add to a state law that already bans sex-selection abortions. Wolf vetoed an identical bill in 2019.
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State House lawmakers also advanced bills to prohibit abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable and to require health care facilities to give parents the option of burial or cremation after the death of their unborn baby.
Wolf slammed the bills as “despicable,” claiming lawmakers are “actively working to criminalize health care decisions that individuals and their doctors need the freedom to make on their own.”
State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Conshohocken, the co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus, praised the governor for consistently blocking pro-life legislation, according to the report.
“Governor Wolf is a strong advocate for women and their reproductive rights,” Daley said. “In Harrisburg, he has been the backstop on every single bill that would take these rights from women.”
In 2017, Wolf also vetoed a bill that would have protected second-trimester unborn babies from brutal dismemberment abortions. Then, last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he vetoed a bill to expand medical care in Pennsylvania because it did not also expand access to the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
Earlier this week, state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton, the lead sponsor of the heartbeat bill, said the governor’s veto threats will not stop her from working to protect unborn babies.
“Whether the governor vetoes this legislation is irrelevant,” she responded, the Times Leader reports. “Ultimately, I am fully accountable to Almighty God, the Author of Life, whose word proclaims that he knew us before we were knitted together in our mother’s womb.”
The Pennsylvania legislature is controlled by Republicans, and some Democrat state lawmakers are pro-life. However, it is not clear if there would be enough votes to override the governor’s veto.
Wolf has close ties to Planned Parenthood, having once been a volunteer at one of its Pennsylvania abortion facilities. The abortion chain spent a record $1.5 million to support his re-election in 2018.
Americans support strong limits on abortion. A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls also consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Mississippi case that many believe directly challenges Roe v. Wade and could allow states to protect unborn babies once again. At issue in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the question of “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.”
In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.