Pennsylvania governor says he’ll protect abortion seekers

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at a Capitol news conference

File photo: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at a Capitol news conference Monday, July 11, 2022, in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

Gov. Tom Wolf is following in the footsteps of other Democratic governors following the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling and looking to protect patients who travel to Pennsylvania for the procedure from being prosecuted by their home states.

Wolf on Tuesday said in a statement that he would refuse a request from any other state to arrest or detain any out-of-state resident who had traveled to Pennsylvania to seek an abortion, as well as anyone providing or assisting with it.

Wolf’s statement is similar to those of Democratic governors in California, Colorado, North Carolina and elsewhere.

Their attempts to protect abortion rights come as tighter restrictions and bans are going into effect in conservative states after last month’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the nearly half-century-old holding from Roe v. Wade that found that the right to abortion was protected by the U.S. Constitution.

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States now may restrict the procedure, and many have taken steps to curtail or ban abortions.

Wolf signed an executive order on Tuesday to back up his statement.

“By signing this executive order, I am affirming that individuals seeking and providing reproductive health services are safe in the commonwealth from discipline and prosecution,” he wrote in a statement.

Abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Wolf supports abortion rights and has vetoed three bills from the Republican-controlled Legislature in the past five years to restrict the procedure.

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