Pennsylvania Senators Working to Codify Roe v. Wade into State Law

State Sens. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, left, and Maria Collett, D-Montgomery, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, April 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Ashley Adams

June 30, 2022

A group of Pennsylvania Senators plan to introduce a bill that would codify into state law the personal right to make decisions about health and reproduction, including access to safe and legal abortions.

Seven Pennsylvania Senators plan to introduce legislation to codify the right to an abortion into state law.

Senators Katie Muth (D-Montgomery), Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery), Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny), Maria Collett (D-Bucks), Judy Schwank (D-Berks), Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), and Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) are working on a bill that would make a personal right to make decisions about health and reproduction, including access to safe and legal abortions, a state law.

The Senators made the announcement on the heels of the ruling handed down by the US Supreme Court last week to overturn Roe v. Wade, which eliminated the federal right to an abortion.

An actual bill has not yet been proposed, the senators said, since the language is currently being drafted, but plans are to officially introduce a measure sometime in the near future.

“The Supreme Court decision handed down on Friday was not made in the interest of the people and shows that the highest court in our nation has a majority that is being run by harmful right wing special interests,” Muth said. “If we cannot trust the Court to protect the rights of Pennsylvanians, then it is up to us in the state legislature to defend our rights to make decisions about our own bodies. We cannot and we will never back down in the fight to protect our rights, our bodies, and our right to choice.”

Pennsylvania’s current law on abortion allows for the termination of a pregnancy up to 24 weeks. State Republicans have repeatedly pushed legislation that would limit access to abortion care. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has shot down every attempt. 

According to April 2022 polling done by Franklin & Marshall College, which has regularly polled on the issue since 2009, only 16% of Pennsylvanians believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

“We can’t allow the people of this commonwealth’s personal health care decisions to be made by a vocal minority,” Schwank said. 

Signe Espinoza, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, the organization’s political arm, decried the Supreme Court’s decision and said the fight for abortions to remain legal in the commonwealth would continue.

“We’ve come too far to go back to pre-1973 unsafe health care, and we must continue the charge forward, not only for legality but for accessibility,” Espinoza said.

On the federal front, Pennsylvania’s Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) has been an outspoken advocate of a woman’s right to choose and has called on the US Senate to join the House and codify Roe into federal law by supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act.

“If we wish to be the ‘land of the free’ then the United States Senate needs to be the ‘home of the brave’ and pass legislation that I already co-sponsored and passed in the House, codifying Roe into law and ensuring equal access to reproductive freedom for everyone in this country,” she said.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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