PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – Pennsylvania State Senator Judy Ward (R-Blair) has proposed SB 956, which would clarify in the Pennsylvania Constitution that there is no right to an abortion or abortion funding.

In November 2021 Ward said the amendment “is designed to maintain our laws regulating abortion and preventing the taxpayer funding of elective abortion.”

The bill was referred to the State Senate Health and Human Services Committee on December 15, 2021, and was reported as committed on Jan. 25, 2022. The bill was repeatedly “laid on the table” through the spring and on June 28 was both laid and removed from the table.

No votes on the bill have been recorded in the State Senate, however, the bill was removed from the table with a 28-21-1 vote on June 28. The bill had previously passed the Health and Human Services Committee on January 25 with a 7-4 vote in the Republican-controlled committee. An amendment to SB 956 was rejected in the committee.

The proposed SB 956 legislation states that “the policy of Pennsylvania is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception to birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution. Nothing in this Constitution grants or secures any right relating to abortion or the public funding thereof. Nothing in this Constitution requires taxpayer funding of abortion.”

SB 956 would be proposed to state voters as an amendment to the state constitution during a future election.

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Despite efforts in the legislature, abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania abortion law is known as Statute 18 Chapter 32, also known as the “Abortion Control Act

“It is the intention of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to protect hereby the life and health of the woman subject to abortion and to protect the life and health of the child subject to abortion. It is the further intention of the General Assembly to foster the development of standards of professional conduct in a critical area of medical practice, to provide for development of statistical data and to protect the right of the minor woman voluntarily to decide to submit to abortion or to carry her child to term. The General Assembly finds as fact that the rights and interests furthered by this chapter are not secure in the context in which abortion is presently performed.”

 ABORTION CONTROL ACT

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the Democratic Party’s nominee for Governor, both expressed support for maintaining Pennsylvania’s abortion law.

Shapiro’s opponent in the gubernatorial race, State Senator Doug Mastriano, has supported outlawing abortion in Pennsylvania if elected in November. Following the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, Mastriano said the law was “rightly relegated to the ash heap of history.”

A push to restrict abortion rights in Pennsylvania comes after the United States Supreme Court stripped away the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion that had stood for nearly a half-century.