A recent column written by Judy Ward on her sponsored Senate Bill 106 claims that her proposed constitutional amendment “does not propose a ban on abortion.” I’m impressed with the incredible rotation. If it does nothing, why suggest it? If you’re not entitled to something, isn’t that the same thing? This implies that your request is subject to the whim of the person from whom it is made. It is deliberately unclear and will have the same effect with medical providers etc. refusing to provide services due to its deliberate obscurity. We are already seeing the terrible effects of such legislation in other states.
I’m running against Ward for the 30th district seat. I am also a former lawyer, counselor and educator. I am trained to read and understand legislation and its impact.
The wording of the bill states, “The Constitution does not grant the right to taxpayer-funded abortion or any other abortion-related right.”
SB106 opens the door to a complete ban on abortion. This jeopardizes all existing laws that protect access to abortion. It would preemptively authorize any legislative restriction of any “abortion right” without limitation. This is exactly the result that Ward decried in his column. The chaos it will cause will lead to legal challenges to interpretation. However, this will render the court powerless to correct inequities and injustices resulting from any consequences of the legislative action. Any existing laws protecting access will certainly be challenged.
The courts would most certainly have to determine whether this vaguely worded amendment would invalidate “other abortion-related rights.” These rights remain indefinite. This could extend to healthcare options, such as contraception or other reproductive procedures, including IVF.
SB106 states that no funds shall be used for abortion. Currently, the government does not fund any elective abortions. However, abortions performed to protect the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest, are generally publicly funded through Medicaid in many states. It is the subject of a challenge in Pennsylvania because it has a disparate impact on the poor and minorities, threatening lives. It is no exaggeration to say that women will die because of this ill-conceived constitutional amendment. If that makes you uncomfortable, that should do it.
Ward proposes this change by constitutional amendment so that the governor does not have the power to veto this bill. Doug Mastriano will go as far as possible to strip away all reproductive rights. If Josh Shapiro wins, he will be powerless to prevent the resulting damage, although he opposes it.
Constitutional amendments are voted on in two sessions, announced and put on the ballot in the next election. The timing is deliberate. Look for it in the May 2023 primary – where local race turnout is lowest. In May, the two parties nominate the candidates of each party. Independents cannot vote for candidates from other parties before the November elections. Third parties should come forward for the sole purpose of voting on amendments, which has always resulted in amendments being passed. Get the picture?
Ward’s amendment is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the executive and judiciary from protecting reproductive freedom. He doesn’t “give people a voice” who don’t want the government to interfere in their most personal and painful decisions about their reproductive health. It takes away our voice, so that a few can impose theirs on us.
This is a bill that will take us back 50 years. It will cost lives. I cannot be silent.
Watch this bill in the 2023 election and for God’s sake…vote.
Carol Taylor is a candidate for State Senate, District 30.