The state legislature has approved a bill that would make Pennsylvania’s abortion laws among the most restrictive in the country.
But this is likely the end of the road for the measure—at least this session.
Governor Wolf will veto the bill, and its supporters don’t appear to have quite enough sway to override it.
Senate Bill 3 would ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks, except in a medical emergency. The current limit is 24 weeks.
It would also prohibit a relatively common late-term abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation, which the bill dubs “dismemberment abortion.”
Over hours of floor debate, both sides were unyielding.
Supporters like Blair County Republican Judy Ward said the issue is a moral one, because medical advances since Pennsylvania’s current abortion law was written have made some fetuses viable before 24 weeks.
“If you have any conscience,” Ward told her colleagues, “the only vote you can make is a yes vote.”
Opponents like Montgomery County Democrat Madeleine Dean protested the lack of hearings on the bill, and said it would put unfair restrictions on expecting mothers who have late-term complications.
“This is an unconstitutional bill,” Dean said. “I suppose it’ll pass here today. But we disrespect families and mothers when we do so.”
Though it did indeed pass, the measure’s 121 to 70 margin wouldn’t be enough to override the veto Governor Tom Wolf said is coming. He called Senate Bill 3 “an assault on the doctor-patient relationship by politicians without medical or health expertise.”
The vote wasn’t quite down party lines. 12 Democrats voted in favor, and 6 Republicans opposed.