Pennsylvania Governor Promotes Abortion with Lawsuit and Executive Order

As the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly advances a constitutional amendment to preserve its ability to restrict abortion, Governor Tom Wolf (D) is suing to defeat that amendment and taking executive action in favor of the practice. 

Keystone State governors typically don’t play a role in the constitutional-amendment process. If both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate pass an amendment in two consecutive sessions, the commonwealth submits the measure as a ballot question for voters to accept or reject at the ballot box. If a majority agrees to it, the amendment becomes law, with or without gubernatorial blessing. 

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Pennsylvania Constitutional Amendment Would Stipulate: No Right to Abortion

A state constitutional amendment that passed both houses of the state legislature last week stipulates that Pennsylvania recognizes neither a right to abortion nor to public funding of abortion.

The legislation stops short of a ban on either surgical or chemically induced abortions but ensures that lawmakers may enact restrictions uninhibited by courts.

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Pro-Abortion Legislation Introduced in Pennsylvania House

Democrats in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives recently proposed two bills to guarantee abortion rights in the Keystone State in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturning. 

The first measure, sponsored by Reps. Danielle Friel Otten (D-Exton) and Liz Hanbidge (D-Blue Bell) is an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution guaranteeing the right to obtain an abortion, acquire contraceptives or refuse fertility care. 

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Pennsylvania House Democrat Sponsors Constitutional Amendment for Abortion and Gay Marriage

Days after several Pennsylvania Senate Democrats proposed legislation to codify the recently overturned Roe v. Wade decision, one senator is spearheading a more expansive measure to enshrine abortion and various sexual rights in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

State Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Doylestown) issued a memorandum to colleagues on Tuesday asking them to cosponsor his amendment. It would codify not only the 1973 Roe ruling that forbade states from prohibiting abortion but also the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision disallowing bans on gay marriage. Other “privacy”-related rights Santarsiero wishes to write into the state Constitution include those identified in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut ruling, which disallowed contraception bans, and in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which barred sodomy laws. 

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Pennsylvania Senate Democrats Propose Codifying Roe

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on Friday, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats proposed codifying abortion rights by state statute.

Sen. Katie Muth (D-Royersford) circulated a memorandum asking Senate colleagues to cosponsor the legislation that would keep the practice legal in Pennsylvania. So far, Sens. Amanda Cappelletti (D-Norristown), Lindsey Williams (D-Pittsburgh), Maria Collett (D-North Wales), Judith Schwank (D-Reading), Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) and Carolyn Comitta (D-West Chester) have signed onto the measure.

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