Gov. Wolf Reaffirms Vow to Veto Heartbeat Bill at Rally in Support of Women’s Reproductive Rights
November 01, 2019
Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf, joined by legislators, advocates and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, today vowed to veto the so-called heartbeat bill and any legislation that restricts women’s reproductive rights.
“Today I am reaffirming my commitment to keeping Pennsylvania a place where women make their own health decisions,” Gov. Wolf said. “Politicians should not be in a doctor’s office. Make no mistake about it, while the General Assembly cleverly names anti-health care choice bills things like “Heartbeat Bill,” this is an attack on women’s personal freedoms, personal choice, and personal liberties.”
“I’m proud to stand with Governor Wolf in opposition to the proposed heartbeat bill,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “HB1977 and other similar abortion restrictions are yet another attack on the rights and reproductive health of individuals seeking healthcare services that are personal and unique to them. These bills jeopardize health, especially in the instance of high-risk pregnancies, and I appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this very important issue.”
“Instead of focusing on these intrusive laws that threaten access to health care and shame patients for their personal decisions, we should focus our attention on promoting laws that support Pennsylvania families and expand reproductive health resources and access, rather than interfering in private medical decisions,” said Ashley Lenker White, Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania executive director. “As a former Planned Parenthood volunteer, Governor Wolf has literally walked the walk, and we greatly appreciate his vetoes in past sessions and his steadfast commitment to vetoing any bans that reach his desk.”
Pennsylvania is not the first state to consider a “heartbeat bill,” which would make it illegal for a provider to perform an abortion if a heartbeat is detected. Several other states, including Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri passed heartbeat laws trying to ban or limit abortions; none have gone into effect due to court decisions of unconstitutionality. Pennsylvania legislators who stood with Gov. Wolf today vowed to defeat this bill and any similar ones brought before the General Assembly.
“The Republicans in the State House are determined to run one unconstitutional abortion ban after another,” said Rep. Leanne Krueger. “Despite the fact that we have elected more pro-choice Democrats over the past few years, we still don’t have enough votes to defeat these bills on the House floor. I’m grateful that we have a governor like Tom Wolf who has pledged to veto every abortion ban that reaches his desk.”
“The author of HB1977, like most women, did not even know she was pregnant until after six weeks had passed,” Rep. Mary Isaacson said. “This bill, which to be clear is a six-week abortion ban, is not only scientifically and ethically wrong, but is yet another unconstitutional attempt to force Pennsylvanians to carry unwanted or unviable pregnancies to term at greater medical risk and against their will.”
“I will fight every attempt in the legislature to infringe upon a woman’s right to access an abortion”, said Sen. Larry Farnese. “We need to continue to work to create a culture in our state where women are respected…where women are trusted to make their own decisions…and where no one is attempting to take away the autonomy a woman has over her own body and her own choices.”
The governor vowed to veto any legislation that attempts to force women into certain choices by shaming them or making those choices difficult to obtain or a financial burden.
“I will never allow these disingenuous and brazen attempts to limit individual freedoms and individual liberties to succeed,” Gov. Wolf said. “This legislation is a shameful and cowardly attempt to pass the most extreme anti-choice legislation in the country. The “heartbeat bill” is a backwards and misguided policy and it is not representative of Pennsylvania. I will veto it.”