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Tipsheet

Pennsylvania Governor Promises To Block 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bill If Necessary

Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature introduced a ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill that would regulate abortions in line with fetal heartbeats; the Commonwealth was the 19th state to introduce such legislation. Governor Tom Wolf affirmed that he will veto any such bill. 

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The proposed bills, similar to that of other states, would ban abortions have a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The opposition’s argument is that such legislation is a burden to women because a heartbeat can be detected early, even before a woman may know she is pregnant. The proposed heartbeat bill would allow a woman to seek an abortion if her health was in jeopardy. Currently, Pennsylvania law allows women to obtain abortions before 24 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for later in pregnancy if the mother’s life is endangered.

Similar to legislation passed in Ohio, Georgia and Alabama, the bill would require abortion providers to detect a heartbeat before performing the procedure, and if a heartbeat is present the process cannot continue. 

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These heartbeat bills have stirred controversy nationwide, and many abortion advocates argue that early abortion bans of this nature are unconstitutional. The original heartbeat bill, passed in North Dakota in 2013, was the first of its kind. Ultimately, the lower court and Supreme Court sided against the regulation. Most states who have passed similar legislation have, or undoubtedly will face court challenges on the premise of Roe v. Wade. These bills also set the stage for a potential review of the 1973 landmark case at the highest court, which is a rising fear on the left.

Pennsylvania Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R-McElhattan), a sponsor of the bill, gave an emotional sentiment on the House floor:

“When you hear a baby’s heartbeat, everything changes,” she said. “If you can be declared dead when the heart stops, why not declared alive when it starts?”

Governor Wolf is a notorious proponent of abortion regardless of circumstance. In March, he shot down a bill proposed by the GOP-majority legislature that would deem abortions performed based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome a third-degree felony. In 2017, Governor Wolf vetoed a bill that would have restricted abortion access in Pennsylvania to 20 weeks of pregnancy, and would have banned the second-trimester abortion technique of ‘dialation and evacuation.’ 

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Wolf continues to cite these abortion regulations as extreme, and pushes the victimhood narrative coined by pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL, that any and all abortion regulations are attacks on women’s healthcare. 

"Let me be clear: I will veto any abortion ban that is put on my desk. The latest bill, a six-week abortion ban, defies all practical understanding of modern women’s health care," Wolf said of the proposed heartbeat legislation.

Once named America’s most liberal governor, much of Wolf’s extreme abortion stances can be credited to his strong alliance with Planned Parenthood. Through the entirety of his tenure as Governor of Pennsylvania, Wolf has been bankrolled by the nation’s largest pro-abortion group. In his 2018 re-election bid alone, Wolf received 1.5 million and a glowing endorsement from Planned Parenthood. 

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