Pennsylvania Senate bill would give voters a say on abortion and voter ID | State

(The Center Square) — A late-night Republican push for a constitutional amendment declaring no abortion rights has sparked controversy.

The resolution would also change elections to require voter ID, raise the voting age to 21, and allow gubernatorial candidates to choose their running mate for lieutenant governor, rather than having two separate races.

Senate Bill 106 would amend Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution to read: “This Constitution does not grant the right to taxpayer funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion.”

The amendment would be a way to avoid a veto from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who has vowed to champion abortion as long as he is governor.

During a debate session on the bill on Friday, Senate Republicans argued that voters deserved choice on the abortion law.

The amendment, which is expected to be approved by voters, would allow “voters to decide whether taxpayers should be required to pay for abortions,” said Sen. David Argall, R-Berks/Schuylkill. “We have no choice but to turn to the constitutional process to give voice to voters.”

Democrats strongly disagreed with the amendment looming late Thursday night for a vote.

“This is a direct attempt to change the Pennsylvania constitution to deny women the right to control what happens with their own bodies,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Montgomery/Philadelphia. The amendment “would make them second-class citizens,” he said.

Some Democrats, however, have embraced the idea of ​​letting voters decide as a way to overturn politics in the General Assembly.

“I’m a yes on this bill because I’m tired of grandstanding,” said Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Bethlehem. “Let voters reject this, let them deliver a message once and for all: women’s right to choose is worth protecting.

The Voter ID Amendment raises the voting age and requires valid proof of ID, but also provides ID at no cost to the voter once their identity is confirmed.

“Showing ID is not a controversial topic,” said Sen. Mike Regan, R-Cumberland/York. “This amendment is the first step in protecting our electoral system…there is no reason not to.”

The bill passed by a Senate vote, 28 to 22, and is heading to the House. Both chambers are majority Republican.

Norman D. Briggs