State Watch

Pennsylvania’s GOP-led Senate advances constitutional amendment on abortion

The Pennsylvania state Senate advanced a proposal Thursday that would amend the state constitution to include clear language that states there is no constitutional right to abortion.

The proposal, advanced by the Republican-led upper chamber, states that there is no constitutional right to a taxpayer funded abortion or any right whatsoever to abortion in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The amendment was added on to a bill that included many constitutional amendments, including on that would require Pennsylvania residents to show legal identification in order to vote in state elections.

The Pennsylvania state constitution does not give the governor the power to veto constitutional amendments, nor do constitutional amendments require the governor’s support to be enacted.

Amendments to the constitution in Pennsylvania are passed after they’re proposed in the state’s House or Senate and then approved by the majority in each chamber during two elective sessions.

The amendment also must be published for Pennsylvanians to see at least three months prior to the next election, and then be approved by the majority in the state’s House and Senate once more following the election.

Afterwards, to finalize the outcome of the amendment, it would then go to the Pennsylvanians’ ballot for a vote.

Pennsylvania Sen. John Costa (D) stated that the Republican bill was “designed to prevent abortions in this commonwealth.” He wrote on Twitter that “the governor is elected statewide to have a final say on the issues that impact citizens statewide,” and claimed that the proposal was a political work-around.

However, the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Judy Ward of Blair County, said that the measure would simply give the legislature the ability to determine abortion law for itself, according to The Associated Press.

“Our Abortion Control Act will still remain in place,” said Ward.

“And this constitutional amendment will just go to the people and it allows us in the Legislature the ability to set these rules and laws concerning abortion in this commonwealth,” Ward added, according to AP.

Costa rebutted this defense of the bill by Ward, writing on Twitter, “If that’s the truth – and this really doesn’t have anything to do with boldly restricting the right of bodily autonomy – it should be done through the regular legislative process.”

The issue in Pennsylvania comes following the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, which found that a person’s right to abortion was constitutional.

It also comes before a tight midterm election this November for state governor and an open seat to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate.

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