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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: November 12, 2021 03:09 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: constitutional amendment regarding elective abortions
As a result of a lawsuit by the abortion industry, Allegheny Reprod. Health Ctr. v. Pa. Dep't of Human Servs., Pennsylvania’s laws that protect the life and health of women and preborn children are in jeopardy, including those related to gestational age for an abortion, informed consent for an abortion, and regulation of abortion clinics. The case, now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, asks the court to strike down Pennsylvania’s Medicaid restrictions on taxpayer funding of most elective abortions. (Medicaid already covers non-elective abortions as well as elective abortions involving rape or incest.) Forcing taxpayer funding of any elective abortion would necessarily result in a reallocation of funding priorities, potentially jeopardizing the real healthcare needs of the almost 3 million Pennsylvanians on Medicaid.
Not only is that unacceptable, but the implications of the case are far more extensive. The abortion industry is asking the court to declare a right to abortion and a right to taxpayer funding of abortion in Pennsylvania’s constitution. If the court declares such rights, all of Pennsylvania’s laws that protect the life and health of mothers and preborn children by regulating abortion are in danger of being subsequently struck down.
What the abortion industry is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to do is to bypass both the legislative process and the constitutional amendment process and to manufacture out of thin air a right to elective abortion and taxpayer funding of elective abortion, presumably during all nine months of pregnancy. Various state high courts such as Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois have bypassed their legislatures and manufactured a right to abortion. Thus, in order to remedy or to prevent that outcome, various states have passed or are in the process of passing constitutional amendments. Over the past ten years these include Tennessee (2014), West Virginia (2018), Alabama (2018), Louisiana (2020), Iowa (anticipated), and Kansas (anticipated).
In order to prevent Pennsylvania’s abortion laws from being struck down, I am proposing a simple amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution clarifying that there is no right to an abortion or abortion funding within Pennsylvania’s constitution. This amendment is designed to maintain our laws regulating abortion and preventing the taxpayer funding of elective abortion.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this measure.

Introduced as SB956