Gov. Wolf Discusses Executive Actions Taken to Protect Reproductive Health Services in Pennsylvania
July 29, 2022
Governor Tom Wolf today discussed the devastating effects of abortion bans for victims of domestic violence and the recently signed executive order allowing out-of-state residents to seek reproductive health care services in Pennsylvania without fear of prosecution.
“Bans on abortion increase rates of maternal mortality, cause financial hardship that hurt families and our economy, and put people in abusive relationships at more risk,” Gov. Wolf said. “Research shows that women in abusive relationships are more likely to need abortion services and making it harder to access abortions can trap women in violent relationships during pregnancy – a time when abuse often escalates. It is important for Pennsylvanians and our neighbors in other states know that abortion access will remain legal and safe in the commonwealth as long as I am governor.”
Recently, Gov. Wolf has taken executive action to ensure in-state and out-of-state residents, like victims of domestic violence, can seek reproductive health care services without fear of discipline and prosecution following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling dismantling Roe v. Wade. Studies show that the presence of domestic violence is associated with both an increased risk of unintended pregnancy and subsequent abortion. Additionally, domestic violence shelters in states that have already enacted state abortion bans are already reporting an increase in calls since the Supreme Court ruling.
“Here in Pennsylvania, I will not stand for this attack on women and pregnant people,” said Gov. Wolf. “I took action by signing the executive order because everyone deserves access to health care. While governor, I will do everything in my power to protect that right.”
The governor was joined today by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Executive Director of The Women’s Center of Montgomery County Maria Macaluso, Jefferson Health-Abington Hospital physician Dr. Karen Feisullin, local elected officials and members of the General Assembly’s Women’s Health Caucus.
“I vow to use every tool I have in the Attorney General’s office to defend doctors’ ability to practice medicine, and a patient’s ability to access health care in Pennsylvania,” said Shapiro. “We know other states may try to interfere with Pennsylvania patients and doctors, and we stand ready to beat them if they try. Under PA law, women have the ability to access reproductive health care without intimidation or threat. I will continue to defend Pennsylvania women and as long as I serve this great commonwealth, the doors to clinics will be open.”
“It’s no secret abortion rights have been in the crosshairs of anti-choice lawmakers in Pennsylvania for a long time,” said Senator Judy Schwank. “With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, these lawmakers feel emboldened to act as we’ve seen firsthand in the commonwealth with passage of SB 106. However, the actions taken by Gov. Wolf, Attorney General Shapiro and the members of the Women’s Health Caucus send a clear message that we will not stand by while anti-choice lawmakers attempt to take rights away from Pennsylvanians.”
“Understanding and supporting the fact that abortion is healthcare allows everyone to do what is best for themselves and their families,” said Representative Mary Jo Daley. “Legislators who support laws that protect the right to abortion are not forcing anyone to have an abortion. Rather, they are supporting the women, the girl, the pregnant person to have bodily autonomy – to make the best decision for themselves. The anti-abortion side wants to force the woman, the girl, the pregnant person to carry the pregnancy full term regardless of whether health, rape, incest, underlying health condition, or any other reason. The idea that any governmental body has that kind of power over anyone’s body is not what the Pennsylvania Constitution or the Constitution of the United States is all about.”
“Ensuring safe, legal, and accessible reproductive care for everyone, particularly for vulnerable populations, is good public health policy,” said Senator Maria Collett. “I’m grateful to have Governor Wolf leading us through these uncertain times. His recent executive order highlights his commitment to use every tool at his disposal to support and defend your fundamental rights. Despite Harrisburg Republicans’ attempts to circumvent the democratic process to roll back our rights, Governor Wolf and I will never stop fighting to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal in Pennsylvania.”
In addition to the governor’s executive order, Gov. Wolf yesterday filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s Republican-led General Assembly for their unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion in Pennsylvania.
In the court filing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Governor Wolf asserted that the Pennsylvania Constitution explicitly recognizes a personal right to privacy, with such a right including the right to terminate a pregnancy. The proposed amendment on abortion under the joint resolution violates this right. Further, the governor asserted that the multiple, unrelated amendments packaged as a single joint resolution are unconstitutional because the General Assembly pushed the proposed amendments forward without allowing each proposed amendment to be voted upon separately.
“The Republican-led General Assembly continues to take extraordinary steps to dismantle access to abortion and implement a radical agenda. Frustrated that their legislation may face my veto pen again, they instead loaded multiple unrelated constitutional amendments into a joint resolution and rammed the bill through during the budget process,” Gov. Wolf said. “As long as I remain governor, I will take every step to ensure that abortion remains legal, safe and accessible in Pennsylvania.”
Since taking office in 2015, Governor Wolf has vetoed three different anti-abortion bills introduced by members of the General Assembly and vowed to veto the rest.