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Gov Wolf, Stakeholders Sound Alarm on Anti-Choice Legislation

Governor Tom Wolf today was joined by stakeholders and community members to discuss the damaging effects of the anti-choice legislation moving through the general assembly and reaffirmed his commitment to protect reproductive rights in Philadelphia.

“Pennsylvanians have a right to make their own health care decisions with the confidence that they are receiving the best possible care from their clinician and not bound in miles of red tape,” said Gov. Wolf. “While politicians claim to be pro-life, they are actually anti-choice and anti-choice legislation doesn’t help pregnant women or doctors. These bills don’t reduce maternal mortality, improve health care outcomes for pregnant people or babies, or provide any support that would help a person’s circumstance.”

Gov. Wolf was joined by Signe Espanoza the Interim Executive Director for Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania Advocates (PPPA).

“Today, and every day, we fight for the right to sexual and reproductive health care,” said Signe Espinoza, PPPA Interim Executive Director. “Governor Wolf’s unwavering commitment to vetoing anti-abortion legislation is the energy we need from every elected official in Pennsylvania.”

This week, Pennsylvania’s General Assembly has moved anti-choice legislation after Governor Wolf has vowed to veto any anti-choice legislation that lands on his desk.

“Instead of shaming and criminalizing health care, members should focus on issues that support Pennsylvanians,” said Gov. Wolf. “Until legislative members stop trying to put barriers in the way of freedom of choice in health care, I vow to continue standing up for the health care rights of Pennsylvanians and vetoing anti-choice legislation.”

General assembly members who were able to attend shared their perspectives: “Pregnant women, not Harrisburg politicians must have the power to make these difficult decisions,” said Senate Health and Human Services Chairman Art Haywood. “The anti-choice legislation passed by the House to restrict women’s reproductive rights and power in Pennsylvania is wrong. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to stand up now for a woman’s right to choose.”

“It is dismaying that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle insist on bringing regressive anti-abortion legislation to a vote—legislation that stands to undo any progress in expanding reproductive health autonomy and cause more pain. For months, my colleagues of the Women’s Health Caucus, and those who stand with us have been investing time, energy, and resources to defend the rights of Pennsylvanians, and their personal healthcare choices,” Rep. Morgan Cephas, Vice Chair of the Women’s Health Caucus stated.  “The people of Pennsylvania are deserving of so much better. We are grateful that Governor Wolf stands with us and is committed to ensuring that these bills that passed this week do not become law in Pennsylvania.”

Other members of the general assembly were unable to attend due to session, but also shared their views on this damaging legislation: “Pennsylvania is one of the most dangerous states to be a pregnant person,” said Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila. “Maternal mortality rates are skyrocketing, and Republican legislators refuse to enact any workplace protections for pregnant people. Supposed ‘pro-life’ legislators are nothing more than puppets for national anti-abortion lobbyists who proport to care about pregnant people and their families. But the proposed abortion bans and restrictions, some of which have passed, are unconstitutional and they restrict access to health care, demolish medical privacy and increase maternal mortality.  The Republican party’s obsession with banning reproductive rights and reproductive health care is sickening.  The unconstitutional bills they’re pushing are harmful to pregnant people, and they’re opposed by medical experts and even disability advocates. Thank you, Governor Wolf, for vowing to veto all these measures and for leaving health care choices up to each of the pregnant people they will affect.”

“I said when we welcomed Gov. Wolf to Narberth earlier this month, but I am so grateful to have his support on this incredibly important issue. His promise of a veto on the bills attacking reproductive health care provides a great deal of relief as we continue to stand up for women and for families,” Rep. Mary Jo Daley stated.  It is still very frustrating, though, that we must continue to stand up to these attacks instead of working collaboratively across the aisle to find real solutions to real problems faced by all Pennsylvanians.”

Sen. Schwank stated, “Unnecessary barriers to reproductive healthcare will never prevent abortions from happening.   Instead, women will be forced to make drastic decisions that will comprise their health and safety.  Rather than attempting to limit a woman’s right to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions, we should increase funding for programs that expand contraception access and real healthcare options.  These are deeply personal and difficult decisions many women are faced with at some point in their lives. They should be made by women with consultation from their doctors, not by politicians.”