Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed an aggressively anti-choice bill that would have criminalized abortions after 20 weeks—with no exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities—and banned dilation and evacuation, the most common second-trimester procedure.
Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3, which is similar to a bill currently sitting in the Pennsylvania House, HB 77, sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks based on the myth that the fetus can feel pain. It made only one exception, allowing abortions where the mother’s life is in danger. The bill also seeks to ban “dismemberment abortion,” a sinister name for the very safe dilation and evacuation procedure that accounts for 95 percent of second-trimester abortions. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, dilation and evacuation bans “limit the ability of physicians to provide women with the medically appropriate care they need, and will likely result in worsened outcomes and increased complications.”
Calling it “the most restrictive anti-choice bill in the country,” Wolf announced his intention to veto the bill in a Philly.com op-ed last week, writing:
These politicians are sending the message that women are less than full partners in our civil society and that they should not have the right to make their own health decisions.
This was proven earlier this when the legislature sent Senate Bill 3, the most restrictive anti-choice bill in the country, to my desk without holding a single public hearing on it. Senate Bill 3 is an assault on the doctor-patient relationship by politicians without medical or health expertise. Unbelievably, this cruel legislation bans abortion after 20 weeks and provides no exceptions for rape or incest. This bill criminalizes a medical procedure that doctors use to protect the life of the mother when tragedy strikes during a pregnancy.
“I will not stand for these repeated attacks on women’s reproductive decisions,” he continued. “I will veto SB 3 because I stand with every woman in Pennsylvania who deserves to make her own health decisions. And I will veto any bill that puts a check on women’s rights in Pennsylvania.”
On Monday afternoon, Wolf vetoed the bill:
“This bill would threaten women’s safety and punish doctors for using their best medical judgment,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in a statement responding to Wolf’s veto. “As recent events in Pennsylvania show, it’s essential that we continue to elect champions who will protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion. Each of us deserves the opportunity to control our lives at the most basic level: our bodies, our families, and our life’s path, including whether and when to become a parent.”