Governor Wolf Joins Health Professionals, Advocates to Denounce Senate Bill 3

February 15, 2017

Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today joined women’s health advocates and medical professionals, along with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, to denounce the fast-tracking of Senate Bill 3 which would eliminate a woman’s right to make choices about her own health care in consultation with her doctor.

“I want to thank the members of the Senate, including the full Philadelphia delegation, who fought this bill but let me be clear: Should Senate Bill 3 reach my desk, I will veto it,” Governor Wolf said. “I am not threatening a veto out of partisanship, or due to some political back and forth. I am promising this veto to demonstrate that Pennsylvania will not play games with women’s healthcare in our Commonwealth. Simply put, this legislation severely limits women’s ability to make informed and timely decisions about their own health care options. That is not the place of government.”

Senate Bill 3 proposes the most extreme restrictions on abortion in the country. It would ban abortions after twenty weeks except in the rarest of circumstances, leaving no exceptions for rape, incest, health or tragic fetal anomalies. The bill would also ban one of the safest methods of second trimester abortions, putting women at risk and taking crucial decisions about their medical care out of the hands of their trusted medical providers.

The Pennsylvania Senate recently passed the bill, despite bi-partisan opposition, through committee and the floor in just three days with limited debate and no expert witnesses or public hearings. The bill now awaits action by the House of Representatives, where a similar version passed last session.

“Senate Bill 3 seeks to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ruling by enacting some of the most extreme legislation against women’s health in the country,” Mayor Kenney said. “This legislation could be so devastating to women’s health that Republican state legislators refused to allow a single medical professional to testify on the bill.”

Governor Wolf and Mayor Kenney were joined today by women who have had to make devastating decisions about their pregnancies. If SB 3 were to be passed, women facing the same circumstances would be stripped of their right to make these personal, family decisions.

“I am grateful for the one element of control I had in an otherwise powerless situation: the decision to end our pregnancy and with it our son’s pain and suffering,” said Erica Goldblatt Hyatt. “This is the paradox, I learned, of being a mother: in my case, loving my son so deeply that it meant choosing to say goodbye. Though that choice rests on my heart every day, I know it was the right one for our family, and I am grateful to live in a State where our Governor supports the rights of women like me to make it, autonomously, with those who know and love her best.”

“Abortion isn’t just about the decision to become a parent- it’s often a parenting decision,” said Karen Agatone. “And SB3 stands in the way of loving parents being able to make the decisions they believe are best for their babies and families. Thank you to Governor Wolf and Mayor Kenney for trusting women to decide for themselves.”

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