(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Governor Tom Wolf has filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led General Assembly in an effort protect the right to an abortion in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 106 is a joint resolution proposing multiple unrelated amendments to the Commonwealth’s Constitution, including “that there is no constitutional right to taxpayer-funded abortion or other right relating to abortion…” (Unrelated to Wolf’s present lawsuit, the bill also deals with qualifications for electors and election audits.)
According to an announcement from Gov. Wolf’s office on July 28, Wolf “has asserted that the Pennsylvania Constitution explicitly recognizes a personal right to privacy, with such a right including the right to terminate a pregnancy. The proposed amendment on abortion under the joint resolution violates this right. Further, the governor asserted that the multiple, unrelated amendments packaged as a single joint resolution are unconstitutional because the General Assembly pushed the proposed amendments forward without allowing each proposed amendment to be voted upon separately.”
Joint resolutions can’t be vetoed (Wolf, a Democrat, has vetoed three anti-abortion bills from the General Assembly during his tenure); joint resolutions must be approved during two consecutive legislative sessions, and then they’ll be placed on ballots, the announcement said. If approved during the next session, the resolution could end up on ballots in 2023.
“Make no mistake, this is a coordinated effort to take away reproductive rights. Further, Republicans moved Senate Bill 106 with the goal of creating a path toward an abortion ban without public debate and under the cover of night,” Wolf said. “Today, in the light of day, I am fulfilling my commitment to do everything I can to protect these rights.”
On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down longstanding federal abortion protections. Several states had “trigger laws” that immediately (or soon after) outlawed abortions should any ruling nullify Roe V. Wade (the Supreme Court case that led to decades of federal protections for abortions). Other states sprung into action to either outlaw or protect abortion access.
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Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute immediately issued a statement on Wolf’s lawsuit.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has before it a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry in Pennsylvania demanding taxpayer funding of abortion, and asking the court to declare — or rather invent — a ‘right to abortion’ in Pennsylvania’s constitution — something that has never been recognized by any court in our state’s history. This lawsuit – like Gov. Wolf’s – is also a direct attack on the democratic process, and the right of the people — not a handful of judges – to make the policies of our Commonwealth on issues of concern to every Pennsylvanian,” Geer said. “Many court watchers believe the PA Supreme Court will side with the abortion industry’s lawsuit calling for taxpayer funding of abortion and more – which is why the Life Amendment is critical to allow the people of Pennsylvania to have a say in this life-and-death issue. “