Pennsylvania Lawmakers Look to Pass Bill Restricting Time for Elective Abortions

A Pennsylvania House vote is expected Monday on a GOP-sponsored measure to bar elective abortions after 20 weeks, four weeks earlier than current law.

Gov. Tom Wolf urged state lawmakers Friday not to hold a vote on the bill to place new limits on abortions in Pennsylvania and again said he'll veto the measure if it passes.

The Democrat called the pending House bill unconstitutional and said it would give Pennsylvania the most restrictive abortion regulations in the country.

"We have got to let women make their own decisions on this," Wolf said. "This is taking us so far back, and it's saying such bad things about Pennsylvania, that we need to stop it."

The House plans a final vote Monday. It also would criminalize procedures that cause the deaths of fetuses by removing their body parts. Those procedures would be allowed to save the mother's life or prevent impairment of a major bodily function.

"I don't know what's prompting this, but it's wrong and I'm going to veto it, if for some strange, bizarre reason it makes it to my desk," Wolf said.

The measure clearly has substantial support in the Republican-majority state House, including more than 100 co-sponsors in the 203-seat chamber. Supporters on Wednesday easily defeated a procedural motion to delay it, 114-73.

"Surveys suggest that people believe that women ought to have the right to make their own health decisions," Wolf said. "So I don't know why it has that kind of broad sponsorship, but it would be a bad thing for the people of Pennsylvania."

Republicans have said the proposed changes to the state's Abortion Control Act were in the works for more than a year, but Democrats say the exact wording was only made public a week ago.

If it makes it out of the House, the bill would need a favorable Senate vote to make it to Wolf's desk.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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