Governor Wolf Files Lawsuit to Protect Reproductive Rights
As part of Governor Tom Wolf’s ongoing commitment to protecting a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, he today filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led General Assembly for their unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion in Pennsylvania.
“The Republican-led General Assembly continues to take extraordinary steps to dismantle abortion access and implement a radical agenda. Frustrated that their legislation could once again face my veto pen, they instead loaded several unrelated constitutional amendments into a joint resolution and rammed the bill through the budget process,” Governor Wolf said. “As long as I remain governor, I will take all necessary steps to keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible in Pennsylvania.”
In the Pennsylvania Supreme Court filing, Governor Wolf asserted that the Pennsylvania Constitution explicitly recognizes a personal right to privacy, such a right including the right to terminate a pregnancy. The proposed abortion amendment under the joint resolution violates this right. Further, the Governor asserted that the multiple unrelated amendments bundled into a single joint resolution are unconstitutional because the General Assembly advanced the proposed amendments without allowing each proposed amendment to be voted on separately.
The governor expedited that request to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court because the Pennsylvania Department of State is constitutionally required to publicly announce the amendments beginning Aug. 2. For this reason, Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman is also appointed to the Governor’s Court. deposit.
Joint resolutions are constitutional amendments that do not require the governor’s signature and cannot be vetoed by the governor. They must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions before they appear on the ballot papers. The proposed amendments presented in the joint resolution must be approved again by the legislature in the 2023-24 legislative session. On the current course, it is possible that the amendments will be on the ballot in 2023.
“Make no mistake, this is a coordinated effort to suppress reproductive rights. Additionally, Republicans have proposed Senate Bill 106 in an effort to create a pathway to an abortion ban without public debate and under cover of night,” Governor Wolf said. “Today, in the light of day, I fulfill my commitment to do everything possible to protect these rights.”
Since taking office in 2015, Governor Wolf has vetoed three different anti-abortion bills introduced by members of the General Assembly and has sworn to veto others.
On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of established precedent and reversed two of its landmark decisions by ruling that the United States Constitution does not confer the right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. However, abortion services are available and unscathed in Pennsylvania by this Supreme Court action at this time.
In May, Governor Wolf joined 16 governors across the country in calling for the immediate passage of the federal Women’s Health Protection Act.
This month, the governor applauded President Joe Biden for taking executive action to protect reproductive health.
Also this month, the governor signed an executive order protecting out-of-state residents who can enter Pennsylvania to access reproductive health services in the Commonwealth.