Wolf vows to veto Pa. abortion bill, says he has votes to prevent override

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Gov. Tom Wolf at Philadelphia City Hall Wednesday vows to veto legislation that further restricts the availability of abortions in the state.(Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Gov. Tom Wolf at Philadelphia City Hall Wednesday vows to veto legislation that further restricts the availability of abortions in the state.(Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf came to Philadelphia Wednesday to send a message to the state Legislature that a bill prohibiting most abortions after five months will not become law.  

He also rallied support against the bill.

Senate Bill 3, approved last week, would amend the state’s Abortion Control Act to outlaw abortions starting at 20 weeks. It would also criminalize the dilation and extraction abortion method, one of the most common procedures during the second trimester.   

At a City Hall news conference, Erica Goldblatt Hyatt said her pregnancy could not have been terminated legally if the bill were law.  Hyatt didn’t want to end her pregnancy, but her son never developed an airway or trachea and would have died if the pregnancy went to term.

“I know the truth as it happened, and I stand strong in knowing my beautiful son was freed from pain and suffering from the limitations of a body that would not serve him,” she said.

Dr. Sindhu K. Srinivas, director of obstetrical services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said she helps parents with high-risk pregnancies at the worst time of their lives  — as they decide whether to opt for an abortion or carry the fetus to term.

“Senate Bill 3, if enacted, will compromise the safety of my patients,” she said. “This bill, if enacted, would violate the doctor-patient relationship. It would impose the most extreme restrictions on abortion in this country.

“It would ban abortions after 20 weeks, when most significant fetal anomalies are detected.”

Wolf said he has a simple message for lawmakers — and he repeated it three times during the news conference.

“Should this misguided and restrictive policy reach my desk, I will veto it, and I will veto any legislation that serves only to restrict the personal and medical choices available to women,” he vowed.

Wolf said he has enough votes in the legislature that any attempt to override his veto would fail.

Sen. Michelle Brooks, R-Mercer, the prime sponsor of the bill, did not respond to a request for comment.  House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin, who said the issue is important to many Pennsylvanians, said the Senate bill will be reviewed with similar House legislation that passed overwhelmingly last year.

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