These past few months have brought a watershed moment in America. Women from all walks of life have been speaking up about sexual assault and harassment, abuse, and the absolutely unacceptable challenges that they have faced as they try to build their lives, careers, and families. At the same time, Republicans in Washington and state Capitols across the country, including Harrisburg, insist on continuing to legislate women’s very personal medical decisions, rather than let women do what is best for themselves and their families.
We have a president who wants us to turn our backs on the very values, traditions, and ideals that make our country great and a Republican legislature in Pennsylvania that is pushing policies that make it harder to be a woman in Pennsylvania.
These politicians are sending the message that women are less than full partners in our civil society and that they should not have the right to make their own health decisions.
This was proven earlier this when the legislature sent Senate Bill 3, the most restrictive anti-choice bill in the country, to my desk without holding a single public hearing on it. Senate Bill 3 is an assault on the doctor-patient relationship by politicians without medical or health expertise. Unbelievably, this cruel legislation bans abortion after 20 weeks and provides no exceptions for rape or incest. This bill criminalizes a medical procedure that doctors use to protect the life of the mother when tragedy strikes during a pregnancy.
I have volunteered at Planned Parenthood with my wife Frances and I have met with women and doctors who have shared their stories about their difficult decisions and how this bill violates a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.
We’ve heard from women just like Karen from Bucks County, who made the incredibly difficult decision to end her pregnancy at 21 weeks following the devastating news that her daughter was diagnosed with a lethal genetic abnormality.
And women like Erica from Lower Moreland, who discovered at a routine ultrasound that her baby boy never developed an airway or trachea and was dying. She made the decision to end her pregnancy decision at five months.
These women deserve our support, and should not be maligned by politicians in Harrisburg.
These women, not politicians in Harrisburg, should be making their own health decisions in consultation with their doctors and families.
I will not stand for these repeated attacks on women’s reproductive decisions.
I will veto SB 3 because I stand with every woman in Pennsylvania who deserves to make her own health decisions. And I will veto any bill that puts a check on women’s rights in Pennsylvania.
Tom Wolf is governor of Pennsylvania. @GovernorTomWolf firstname.lastname@example.org