Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have banned abortions based on prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. Why? Because he believes women “must be able” to abort such babies.
The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly the day before landing on the Democrat Gov. Wolf’s desk. It was aimed at protecting those with a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis from being aborted, but included exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies.
“There is no evidence that this bill is needed in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf commented in his veto message, adding:
This legislation is a restriction on women and medical professionals and interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians. Physicians and their patients must be able to make choices about medical procedures based on best practices and standards of care. The prohibitions under this bill are not consistent with the fundamental rights vested by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
When he indicated he would veto the bill before it landed on his desk, he took an opportunity to criticize pro-lifers: “This bill masks yet another attempt to ban abortions and put politicians between a woman and her doctor…[T]his is a particularly cynical way to impugn women seeking constitutionally protected health care options.”
This is not the first pro-life bill vetoed by Gov. Wolf. In December 2017, he vetoed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion. D&E is also referred to as dismemberment abortion, as it requires the unborn child’s limbs be torn off before it is removed from the mother.
Planned Parenthood, who spent $1.5 million on Gov. Wolf’s re-election campaign, was fast in applauding the veto, tweeting:
Abortion is currently allowed in Pennsylvania up to the 24th week of pregnancy, and may be carried out for any reason except for gender selection.
While it is disheartening that Gov. Wolf does not want to protect the lives of unborn children with Down syndrome, a push to protect them is picking up steam across the country. It has even made its way to Congress, where a federal ban has been introduced. It is the hope of the pro-life movement that such bills continue to be introduced and passed across the country.
Photo credit: Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr, CC BY 2.0