Abortion rights advocates rally outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf speaking at a press conference on  abortion rights outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on May 4, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf speaking at a press conference on abortion rights outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on May 4, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Abortion rights advocates rallied in the shadow of Independence Hall Wednesday morning, with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vowing to use his veto pen to keep abortion legal as long as he is in office.

Wolf said he was “angry” as he stood with numerous other Democratic politicians.

“I’m angry today because the right to bodily autonomy — a right that has been enshrined in law for more than a generation — is under attack,” Wolf said. “I’m angry because the right to privacy in this nation is under attack. I’m angry because the rights of women in this nation are under attack.”

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Wolf said he’s already put his veto pen to work vetoing anti-abortion bills in the past and will use it again to stop “right wing extremists itching to put abortion bans in place right here in Pennsylvania.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (center) and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at a press conference on abortion rights outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on May 4, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

“We must stand united for a future where Pennsylvanians have the right to make their own health care decisions,” he said, adding that a generation of Americans have grown up under the abortion rights protected by Roe v. Wade, and that even if the Supreme Court ruling that was leaked comes to pass, nothing in Pennsylvania will change.

Pennsylvania is not one of 13 states that have so-called trigger laws in place that would limit abortions if Roe v. Wade is officially overturned.

Wolf’s vow to veto anti-abortion legislation is only good through the end of his term later this year. He urged voters to remember that when heading to the polls in November. “Elections have consequences,” he said. “What I’m doing is working very hard to make sure a pro-choice governor becomes governor of Pennsylvania.”

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The leaked draft ruling is a “crisis moment,” said Dale Steinberg, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “Make no mistake about it, the threat is not hypothetical. The court clearly seems prepared to end the constitutional right to abortion. This outcome is as dangerous as it is unprecedented and will open the floodgates for states across the country to ban abortion.”

Pennsylvania State Representative Joanna McClinton added it’s time to make sure the Supreme Court cannot create laws, because that’s not their job.

“We’re going to make sure when we put people on the Supreme Court that they interpret the law, that they don’t give us the law. That’s why we are lawmakers,” she said. “We went to Harrisburg and Washington to create laws. We didn’t send anybody to the Supreme Court to make new laws.”

Pennsylvania State Representative Joanna McClinton speaking at a press conference on abortion rights outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on May 4, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania said the Supreme Court would make pregnant people into “second class citizens” if the draft becomes the official court ruling.

“If Roe can be overturned, what’s next? Gay marriage, Brown versus Board [of Education], Loving versus Virginia?” she said. “Make no mistake, everything will be on the line with this extremist Supreme Court, they have already started chipping away very effectively at our voting rights.”

The politicians called on the voters to consider the ruling when they head out to cast a ballot this year. Democrats hold a one-vote majority in the U.S. Senate, and there is a possibility their margin in the U.S. House of Representatives could be in danger during the midterm elections.

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