Claims that PA Senate Bill 106 would ban abortion are false
Over the past few weeks, my colleagues in the Senate have had to constantly correct false and misleading claims about the recently passed law. Senate Bill 106. Unfortunately, the misrepresentations continued and it became increasingly necessary for me, as the sponsor of one of the bill’s amendments, to join them in their efforts.
Senate Bill 106 consists of five different amendments to the Pennsylvania constitution, the topics being the election of the lieutenant governor, legislative disapproval of regulations, voter identification, audit of elections by the auditor general and taxpayer funding of abortions.
These amendments become part of the Pennsylvania constitution if the Legislature passes Senate Bill 106 in two consecutive legislative sessions attended by a majority of voters approving each of the amendments individually at the ballot box.
To correct what has been reported in many media, if this legislation is approved by the voters, it would not be the result of undemocratic procedures and a General Assembly deaf to the will of the people. Senate Bill 106 gives Pennsylvanians a voice. It would be the most democratic and just method of lawmaking available to us as citizens, because it requires both representative democracy when our legislature votes on the amendment and direct democracy where the people have the final say. at the ballot box.
Many lies have been circulated about the effect of the modifications. Most egregious are the abortion amendment reports.
For context, Allegheny Reproductive Health Center is suing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, arguing that there is a right to abortion in our Constitution. This is despite court precedents and state and federal laws to the contrary. This “right” that they are asking the court to find would apply to nine months of pregnancy and would oblige taxpayers to pay for abortions.
The amendment would simply preserve the status quo, keeping the fate of abortion policy out of the hands of irresponsible judges and into the hands of those who are accountable to the people, their elected representatives in the legislature.
Some claim that the amendment is a ban on abortion. It is completely false. Unfortunately, the lies don’t stop there. Some have reported that if this amendment goes into effect, people’s ability to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments will be threatened. Others say ectopic pregnancies will be forced to terminate whether or not it kills the mother, or that D&C procedures will be banned, forcing those who miscarry risk serious infection and illness. None of these statements are true.
Here are the facts. If the abortion provision of Senate Bill 106 is approved by voters, Pennsylvanians will continue to have a statutory right to an abortion under Pennsylvania’s abortion control law. This law would remain in place and unchanged. Medicaid will continue to cover both non-elective abortions and voluntary abortions involving cases of rape or incest, but will continue to withhold funding for all other elective instances. IVF, ectopic pregnancies and D&C procedures would be allowed under the same rules that exist today, and doctors will continue to save women’s lives in the event of life-threatening complications during pregnancy.
With Senate Bill 106, the fate of abortion law in Pennsylvania will be left to the elected representatives of the people through the legislative process. Abortion policy-making will be taken out of the hands of unelected judges and placed exactly where it belongs; in the hands of the people, first through a referendum and then through their elected representatives.
Our job as elected officials is to create public policy that represents the will of the people. I can think of no better way to do this than by putting these questions to voters through Senate Bill 106.
State Senator Judy Ward, R-30, represents parts of Blair, Huntingdon, Cumberland, Fulton and Franklin counties.