Pennsylvania Gov. sues GOP state legislature over abortion amendments

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced Thursday that he has filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led state General Assembly for what he says is the General Assembly’s “unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion in Pennsylvania.”

Wolf writes in the court filing that the commonwealth’s constitution expressly recognizes an individual’s right to privacy, which Wolf says includes the right to terminate a pregnancy. Therefore, Wolf states that the General Assembly’s amendments are a violation of Pennsylvania’s constitution.

The Pennsylvania governor also claimed in his statement that when the General Assembly packaged multiple amendments together in a joint resolution that they were pushed forward without permitting them to be voted upon separately, which Wolf called unconstitutional.

“Frustrated that their legislation may face my veto pen again, [the General Assembly] instead loaded multiple unrelated constitutional amendments into ​a joint resolution and rammed the bill through during the budget process,” Wolf said in his press release.

“As long as I remain governor, I will take every step to ensure that abortion remains legal, safe, and accessible in Pennsylvania,” the governor added.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania state Senate advanced a proposal that would amend the state constitution to include clear language that states there is no constitutional right to abortion.

The proposal, advanced by the Republican-led upper chamber, states that there is no constitutional right to a taxpayer-funded abortion or any right whatsoever to abortion in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania state constitution does not give the governor the power to veto constitutional amendments, which also include joint resolutions, nor do constitutional amendments require the governor’s support to be enacted.

Wolf also signed an executive order this month protecting the right to an abortion and other reproductive health care, such as contraception, in Pennsylvania for both in-state residents and out-of-state visitors seeking care.

“Here in Pennsylvania, I will not stand for this attack on women and pregnant people. 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. Everyone, whether a resident of Pennsylvania or elsewhere, deserves access to health care. As long as I am governor, I will do everything in my power to protect that right,” Wolf said earlier this month.