Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's veto of a bill to ban abortions in cases of prenatal Down syndrome diagnoses has unnerved the pro-life community, particularly because of how casually he did it.
The Down syndrome abortion ban, otherwise known as House Bill 321, passed 117-76 in the Republican-led state House of Representatives and 27-22 in the state Senate. But the Democratic governor knew immediately what to do with the measure.
"Hey, I've done this before," Wolf said rather routinely in a Twitter video on Friday. "And that is veto bills that interfere with the rights of women to make their own health care decisions. This bill does that and I'm therefore vetoing it."
Another attack on abortion: VETOED ? pic.twitter.com/xpV63KVVAV— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) November 21, 2019
"I have significant concerns that enforcement of this legislation would upend the doctor-patient relationship and impede on patient confidentiality," Wolf said in an earlier explanation.
Pro-lifers don't accept that explanation. Around 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome annually, per the National Down Syndrome Society, and a sobering number of those babies are aborted. House Bill 321 would have helped protect this already vulnerable community.
"Most of us know of a family touched by a Down Syndrome child, and know these children grow to lead joyful and fulfilling lives," Reps. Kate A. Klunk (R-York) and Mike Turzai (R-Marshall) write in their legislation.
The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List said the governor should be ashamed of himself for using his veto power for such a callous purpose.
“Shame on Governor Wolf for blocking this compassionate, popular bill. He has signed a death sentence for countless unborn babies targeted for abortion merely because they may have Down syndrome,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The Pennsylvania legislature’s bold action is part of growing nationwide momentum to put an end to lethal discrimination – but Governor Wolf is an abortion extremist who consistently obstructs the will of Pennsylvanians. We thank our local allies, especially our National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus member and lead sponsor Rep. Kate Klunk, as well as the Pennsylvania Family Institute led by Michael Geer, for their tireless efforts to advance this bill. States deserve the right to protect their most vulnerable children and urgency is growing for the Supreme Court to weigh in.”
Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, was just as furious.
“Governor Tom Wolf believes it's just fine to kill babies in the womb solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of a disability," Geer said. "That is eugenics. That's wrong. And one way Pennsylvanians can respond to Governor Wolf's veto is by marching with us at the first-ever Pennsylvania March for Life on May 18, 2020. Together, we can tell Governor Wolf and everyone in Harrisburg that life should be protected.”