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Pa. is ready to respond to SCOTUS with bills protecting or restricting abortion

A pro-choice rally is held across the street from the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in Harrisburg as protesters demand Casey protect the right to an abortion. May 10, 2022. Dan Gleiter | dgleiter@pennlive.com

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade leaves it up to states to determine the rules regarding abortion services and some lawmakers already have ideas about what Pennsylvania should do.

Unlike 13 other states, Pennsylvania does not have a law that automatically restricts or completely bans abortions once this landmark court decision was overturned.

However, there are a dozen pieces of legislation that have been introduced this legislative session that seek to protect or alter the state’s current law that allows an abortion to be performed up to the 24th week of pregnancy or later if the life of the mother is at risk and minors must have parental consent.

The bills that seek to further limit access to abortion stand no chance of getting past Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto pen. But moving them to his desk would send a message to voters about where individual lawmakers stand on the issue going forward.

Wolf vetoed a bill in 2019 a bill that resembles legislation offered in both chambers banning abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome.

Wolf is term-limited and constitutionally barred from seeking another term when his time in office expires in January. But the two major party gubernatorial candidates vying to succeed him have divergent views on this issue.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro has taken a stand saying he will veto any bill that would restrict abortion rights, and he will expand access to reproductive care. Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano favors a total ban on abortions with no exceptions.

Here are the measures that are sitting in the hopper in the state House and Senate awaiting action relating to abortion access in the current legislative session that ends Nov. 30 as well as their current status:

Anti-abortion bills

• Senate Bill 378 – Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin County

Bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected unless determined by a physician to be clinically necessary

Status: In Senate Health and Human Services Committee

• House Bill 904 – Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton County

Bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected unless determined by a physician to be clinically necessary

Status: Passed House Health Committee and awaiting action by the full House of Representatives

• House Bill 1500 – Rep. Kate Klunk, R-York County

Bans abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome

Status: Passed the House by a 120-83 vote and is now before the full Senate

• Senate Bill 21 – Sen. Scott Martin, R-Lancaster County

Bans abortions based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome

Status: In Senate Health and Human Services Committee

• House Bill 2252 – Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion County

Proposes a constitutional amendment banning public funding of elective abortions and prevents the courts from changing state abortion laws

Status: In House Health Committee

• Senate Bill 956 – Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair County

Proposes a constitutional amendment banning public funding of elective abortions and prevents the courts from changing state abortion laws

Status: Passed Senate Health and Human Services Committee and is now before the full Senate

• Senate Bill 152 – Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair County

Prioritizes public funds for family planning services to private hospitals and community health centers over “unconventional” health care providers such as Planned Parenthood

Status: Passed Senate Health and Human Services Committee and before the full Senate

Pro-abortion-rights bills

• House Bill 2626 – Sponsor: Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester County

Bans public funding of family planning organizations that engage in practices that prevent women from having abortions to ensure that remains an option to meet women’s health needs

Status: In House Health Committee.

• House Bill 2629 – Sponsor: Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester County

Allows public funding of abortions

Status: In House Health Committee

• House Bill 2628 – Sponsor: Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester County

Removes restrictions on public funds for abortions and related activities.

Status: In House Health Committee

• House Bill 2627 – Sponsor: Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester County

Allocates money to the Department of Human Services for family planning providers including those that provide abortion services

Status: House Health Committee

• House Bill 733 – Sponsor: Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester County

Bars any state laws or regulations from interfering with an individual’s right to have an abortion

Status: House Health Committee

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