State House passes abortion bill

Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf speaks at a rally against pro-life legislation in Conshohocken Dec. 11 2017. Credit Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr

Anthony List cited a 2013 Harper Polling survey that said 82 percent of Democratic primary voters in the state think abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances.

The state House Health Committee voted 16 to 10 on December 4 for Senate-passed legislation that also would restrict how most second-trimester abortions are performed. The legislation prohibits later-term abortions after 20 weeks as medical advancements push the line of viability earlier in pregnancy and as substantial medical evidence indicates unborn babies at this stage are capable of experiencing pain. Six Republicans opposed the bill, while 12 Democrats voted in favor. SB3 would roll back that limit, allowing abortions after 20 weeks only in rare emergency situations, with no exception for cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities. There are likely not enough votes to override a veto. "I will veto it, because all Pennsylvania women deserve to make their own health care decisions". He called Senate Bill 3 "an assault on the doctor-patient relationship by politicians without medical or health expertise".

The legislation would keep in place exceptions under current law for when a mother's life is at risk, or if she could suffer a serious, permanent injury without an abortion, the Associated Press reports.

"We urge Gov. Tom Wolf to sign this important legislation that protects both mothers and their unborn children from the harms of abortion", Ms. Wallace said in a statement.

Dawn Keefer, R-York, said the issue should not be framed only in terms of women's rights.

This bill is an attack on women, and it should never have reached my desk.

The dismemberment abortion ban would in effect ban dilation-and-evacuation abortion, the most common method of abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy. Seventeen states now prohibit abortion after 20 weeks' gestation.

Planned Parenthood said the bill would make Pennsylvania's abortion law among the nation's most restrictive.

However, because Republicans only have a slim majority in the Senate, it's not expected to pass.

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