Gov. Wolf, AG Shapiro speak on how the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade could affect abortion-seekers

Democratic politicians in Pa. spoke on how anti-abortion policies presented by conservatives are harmful for citizens of the commonwealth.

Governor Tom Wolf

File photo: Gov. Tom Wolf speaking at People’s Park in Philadelphia on December 9, 2021. (Office of Gov.)

Today Governor Tom Wolf was joined by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro, local leaders, and abortion activists at People’s Park in Philadelphia in support of a person’s right to access abortion.

This comes in the wake of the United States Supreme Court hearing arguments on the Mississippi abortion case. Wolf said current protections may not be enough without the federal protection of Roe V. Wade.

Wolf said his office will do what it can — vetoing anti-abortion bills that land on his desk — until the Supreme Court makes its final decision, but in the end it will not be enough should the Court dismiss 50 years of federally protected abortion rights.

“Without federal protection in place, the reproductive rights of women, birthing people, and families all across Pennsylvania are a lot more precarious,” Wolf said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Since 2016, there have been six different anti-abortion bills introduced by members of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, three of which made it as far as Wolf’s desk. The governor said he has vetoed the bills and will continue to veto any anti-abortion measures that land on his desk.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said anti-abortion politicians will not stop with bans in Texas and Mississippi, as others states are filing similar bills, including Pennsylvania.

“It’s one of the reasons why I filed a brief in the Mississippi case, the case that was just recently heard in the Supreme Court of the United States, urging the court to reject Mississippi’s unconstitutional ban on abortions after 15 weeks,” he said.

Shapiro, along with more than 20 other attorneys general, has also filed a brief in Texas, and its controversial law that would allow anyone to sue a nurse, doctor, or Uber or Lyft driver for assisting women in getting an abortion.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Lawmakers were joined by Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Lindsey Mauldin, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, touched on the difficulty of getting an abortion at 17 due to restrictive abortion laws. She said that because she had transportation, and was able to pay out of pocket for the cost, it was more feasible for her to do than someone without access to transportation and financial resources.

She said Roe v. Wade never meant access for all.

“In Pennsylvania, trap laws, burdensome clinic requirements, funding of anti-abortion fake health clinics, lack of comprehensive statewide sex education, and the majority of a state legislation hostile to abortion,” have made abortion more difficult to access, despite Roe v. Wade, Mauldin said.

She said this is particularly true for groups that face difficulty accessing abortions due to race, living in rural areas, age, low income, or living with a disability.

“Every person deserves freedom to make the decisions right for their lives, their families, and their futures,” said state Senator Nikil Saval. “A handful of Supreme Court justices shouldn’t have the power to strip it away. This is gender justice. This is racial justice. And this is economic justice.”

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal