HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Reactions from both pro-life and pro-choice advocates and lawmakers continue to pour in across the country and in Pennsylvania.
Today, Governor Tom Wolf was in Philadelphia to host a press conference addressing the potential dismantling of Roe v. Wade after the leaked opinion earlier this week.
“I am very angry. I’m angry because today the right to bodily autonomy, a right that has been enshrined in law for more than a generation, is under attack. I am angry because the right to privacy in this nation is under attack. I am angry because the rights of women in this nation are under attack, and I am angry because the idea at the heart of American exceptionalism, the idea that I have agency over my own life, is under attack,” said Wolf.
Pro-choice advocates like Gayle Steinberg, the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania, echoed similar remarks.
“This Supreme Court leaked opinion has lit a fire across our country. It has galvanized us and we will not allow our rights to be dismissed and dismantled, including a right we’ve had for nearly 50 years,” said Steinberg. “Generations before us have fought tirelessly to gain and protect the rights we have today. Planned Parenthood will not back down. We are furious, we’re on fire and we are fighting back,” she added.
Gov. Wolf, who’s vowed to veto any anti-abortion legislation as long as he is governor, said a potential overturn would have a nationwide impact on the rights of all citizens.
“If the Supreme Court goes through with this ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, it will put the right of every American to make their own private medical decisions in jeopardy. All of them,” said Wolf. “And that includes the right to choose an abortion that is absolutely, positively un-American, and it’s unacceptable,” Wolf added.
Wolf, like many speakers at today’s event, expressed concern about the future, saying there’s a lot at risk if the court overturns a decades-long ruling.
“I don’t think it’s possible to overemphasize the seismic shift this represents in America’s approach to privacy, to personal autonomy, and to health care rights,” said Wolf. “Real people are being hurt by anti-abortion policies. Barriers to abortion do not keep women or children safe. In reality, those barriers hurt the very people they’re supposedly intended to protect. Abortion bans lead to worse health outcomes for pregnant people, for babies. They increase rates of maternal mortality,” he added. “Abortion is health care. We must make sure it remains safe and it remains legal.”
State Republican lawmakers have pushed several pro-life measures in the current session, and previous sessions. Gov. Wolf has vetoed three of those bills since taking office.
“While we are still awaiting final confirmation of what last night’s news means in terms of Roe v. Wade, and until a final decision is reached, any true direction or plan would be premature,” said House Republican Caucus Spokesperson Jason Gottesman in a statement to ErieNewsNow. “So far this session, the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus has led the House of Representatives in passing significant pro-life legislation that reflects the view of a significant majority of Pennsylvanians and provides dignity and protection to the born and unborn alike. We will continue to review pending pro-life legislation and any further decisions will be made through the course of the normal legislative process,” said Gottesman.
This afternoon, House Health Committee Majority Chair, Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest) released a statement in response to the leaked draft opinion.
“Through God’s continued favor, grace and mercy, there are infinite reasons for enduring faith and eternal optimism that the scales of justice will finally weigh in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, which has made possible the deaths of more than 62 million unborn baby boys and baby girls since abortion was legalized nationwide in 1973,” said Rapp.
The House Health Committee maintains legislative oversight over abortion, abortion facilities and teen pregnancy policies. In today’s press release, Rapp says the legislature is positioned to advance strong pro-life legislation.
“Regardless if this leaked, preliminary U.S. Supreme Court ruling signals final Armageddon for Roe v. Wade, as majority chair of the House Health Committee and the majority co-chair of the bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus, I can confirm that Pennsylvania’s Legislature is already well-positioned to successfully advance some of the strongest pro-life legislation in the history of our Commonwealth,” said Rapp.
If the case is overturned, this year’s statewide races could determine the future of abortion in Pennsylvania.