Law & the Courts

Pennsylvania Governor Promises to Veto Abortion ‘Heartbeat’ Bill

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (Mark Makela/Reuters)

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, vowed on Wednesday to veto an abortion “heartbeat” bill touted by Republican lawmakers should the bill pass the state legislature.

The bill, introduced by Republican state Senator Doug Mastriano and Representative Stephanie Borowicz, would ban abortions in cases where a physician can detect a fetal heartbeat.

“When you hear a baby’s heartbeat, everything changes,” said Borowicz during a Monday press conference at the state Capitol. “If you can be declared dead when the heart stops why not declared alive when it starts?”

Wolf vowed to veto the legislation almost immediately after it was announced.

“I will veto any abortion ban that is put on my desk,” the Governor said in a statement. “These policies run counter to the notion of individual freedom and lack a sound scientific basis.”

Wolf reiterated his opposition in a Tuesday tweet, writing “Pennsylvania will NOT be the next state to ban abortion because I will VETO this bill.”

Pennsylvania currently permits abortions up to 24 weeks into pregnancy, after which abortions may be allowed if the woman’s life is determined to be in danger.

On May 15 of this year, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the nation’s most restrictive abortion bill, which outlaws the performance of abortions unless it is to prevent a “serious health risk.”

“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Ivey said at the time.

After the Alabama bill’s passage, Wolf had promised to veto any similar legislation submitted to him.

“I’ll veto any anti-choice bill that lands on my desk,” Wolf wrote on Twitter on May 16. “I won’t let our commonwealth go backward on reproductive rights.”

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