Pennsylvania Senate Passes Amendment Declaring There is No Right to Kill Babies in Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 8, 2022   |   1:17PM   |   Washington, DC

The Pennsylvania Senate today passed an amendment confirming there’s no right to kill babies in abortions in the state constitution.

The amendment would prevent abortion activists from forcing the state to legalize abortions up to birth and taxpayers to pay for them. If it passes the legislature and voters approve it on the ballot, the amendment would add language to the Pennsylvania Constitution stating that there is no right to abortion or taxpayer funding for abortion.

“My constitutional amendment would make it so that the people’s elected representatives are the ones who set policy regarding abortions, not activist judges,” said state Sen. Judy Ward, R-Hollidaysburg, the lead sponsor. “When it comes to protecting the lives of the unborn and protecting women’s health, we must keep the power to legislate in the hands of the people’s representatives.”

Today, state Senate voted 28-22 to pass the omnibus resolution that contains the amendment.

Proposed amendments to the constitution must pass the state House and Senate twice, in two consecutive sessions. The resolution passed Friday by the state Senate must be approved by the state House before the current session concludes at the end of the year. Both chambers would need to pass it again during the 2023-24 session. Once that happens, the amendments would go to state voters on the ballot.

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Leading state pro-life organizations expressed an urgent need to pass the amendment because of a lawsuit filed by pro-abortion groups.

“This Constitutional Amendment would represent a major win for all those who do not want their hard-earned tax dollars to pay for abortion, which is the taking of an innocent, unrepeatable human life,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Keystone State affiliate of National Right to Life.

The Amendment would also ensure that the people, through their duly elected representatives in the state, would decide abortion policy, rather than a handful of judges through judicial fiat.

“The people in individual states deserve to have the final say on legislation that would protect preborn children and their mothers from harm,” Gallagher added.  

Tom Shaheen, president for policy at the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said the state Supreme Court is considering the abortion lawsuit right now, and the ruling could be disastrous for the unborn and all Pennsylvanians.

“Today, Pennsylvania faces the greatest threat to unborn children and their mothers since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision,” Shaheen wrote in an email to supporters recently. “To put it bluntly, Pennsylvania is at risk of becoming a state like New York that allows abortions up until birth – and paid for by taxpayers.”

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, which also supports the amendment, said the court case could force state taxpayers to pay for the killing of unborn babies in elective abortions and strike down the state parental consent law, which requires underage girls to have a parent’s permission for an abortion.

It also could get rid of the state ban on late-term abortions and end informed consent requirements, the pro-life organization states on its website.

“We would also lose regular inspections of abortion facilities, meaning that hair and nail salons would face greater scrutiny than abortion centers,” the organization continued.

The amendment would keep these laws in place and allow state lawmakers to pass other protections for mothers and unborn babies, especially sicne the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.

To amend the Pennsylvania Constitution, the amendment language must pass the state House and Senate twice and then be approved by a majority of voters on the ballot.

“We are living in a historic moment in the pro-life movement as Roe v Wade may finally be thrown upon the ash heap of history,” Shaheen said. “But our future here in Pennsylvania may be worse than under Roe if we don’t stop Planned Parenthood and pass the Life Amendment.”

In several states, courts have found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitutions. The rulings have been used to force taxpayers to fund abortions and restrict the state legislature from passing even minor, common sense abortion restrictions.

In 2018, West Virginia voters passed a pro-life state constitutional amendment after decades of being forced by a court ruling to fund elective abortions with their tax dollars.

Kansas voters will consider a similar pro-life amendment to their state constitution in August. In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitution, a ruling that jeopardizes laws that protect women and babies.