How the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling could impact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

CORRECTION: Professor Michael Dimino originally had his last name spelled as “Domino.” The story has been changed to reflect the correct spelling of the professor’s name.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a controversial abortion case Wednesday. Their ruling will have nationwide implications.

The justices are specifically considering a Mississippi ban on abortions at 15 weeks. The conservative court could side with Mississippi.

Professor Michael Dimino, with Widener Law, says if they do it would give states more power on abortion access.

“It will give the green light to other states to impose more restrictions on abortion than had been permissible before,” Dimino said.

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Melissa Reed, President of Planned Parenthood Keystone, says that’s concerning for pro-choice advocates.

“We are really at a crisis point,” Reed said. “If they allow that ban to stand it’s going to erase 50 years of precedent and put abortion at risk across the country.”

Those on the pro-life side like Alexis Sneller, a communications and policy officer with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, are hopeful the justices overturn Roe vs. Wade entirely.

“It’s time for us to overturn Roe. I think people are kind of awakening to the injustice of abortion. It’s encouraging momentum,” Sneller said.

Even if that happens it’s not the end of the fight.

“It would not make abortion illegal. Instead, it would simply allow states to regulate abortion more strictly if those states wanted to,” Dimino said.

In Pennsylvania, the Republican legislature has already tried passing more restrictive laws, but the Democratic governor has vetoed them. He promises he will keep doing that.

“Right now abortion is safe and legal in Pennsylvania and we need to do whatever we can to protect that access,” Reed said.

In 2022 Pennsylvania will elect a new governor. So if the Supreme Court does decide to allow more abortion restrictions the pro-life movement feels there could be a window for change in Pennsylvania.

“We want to see a Pennsylvania where abortion is unthinkable and where all life is cherished,” Sneller said.

The court’s decision is expected in early spring.

“I don’t expect a change in Pennsylvania abortion law any time in the immediate future, even if this case, when it is decided, allows more restrictive abortion laws,” Dimino said.

Professor Domino also explained that if Roe vs. Wade is overturned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could have a say in whether the state constitution guarantees abortion rights. That means they could decide Pennsylvania does protect access to abortions, even if other states don’t.

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