12/19/2017 10:34 am ET Updated Dec 19, 2017

Pennsylvania Governor Just Vetoed The 'Most Restrictive Anti-Choice Bill In The Country'

The measure would have criminalized all abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed an aggressive and highly restrictive 20-week abortion ban on Monday. 

“I just vetoed the most restrictive anti-choice bill in the country because PA women don’t need Harrisburg politicians making their health care decisions,” Wolf tweeted on Monday alongside a photo of him vetoing the bill. 

Senate Bill 3, which was passed last week by Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature, would have criminalized abortion after 20 weeks with no exceptions for cases of fetal abnormalities, rape or incest. The bill was based on the idea that fetuses can feel pain, which is unproven but remains a common argument among abortion opponents.

Last week, Wolf tweeted that he intended to veto the bill, writing: “This bill is an attack on women, and it should never have reached my desk. I will veto it, because all Pennsylvania women deserve to make their own health care decisions.” He also wrote an op-ed for Philly.com last week detailing why SB3 would be so dangerous for Pennsylvanian women. 

The legislation would have also criminalized a procedure called “dilation and evacuation” (D&E), which is the most common type of second trimester abortion procedure. D&E bans are a frequent tactic in the anti-abortion movement, often used to limit a woman’s options when seeking an abortion. SB3 referred to D&Es as “dismemberment abortion.” 

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes D&E bans, writing in a December 2015 statement that these restrictions “represent legislative interference at its worst.” 

“Efforts to ban specific types of procedures will limit the ability of physicians to provide women with the medically appropriate care they need, and will likely result in worsened outcomes and increased complications,” the statement reads. “These legislative efforts are based on non-medical, subjective language. This language will create confusion, thus putting women at risk and, in certain cases, actually leading to abortion later in pregnancy.” 

Greg Manz, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, called Wolf a “puppet” of Planned Parenthood after the governor vetoed SB3 Monday afternoon. 

“Tom Wolf is a puppet of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one provider of abortions, and is going to gladly accept their special-interest money for more political favors,” Manz said.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards applauded Wolf’s move in a statement on Monday. 

“This bill would threaten women’s safety and punish doctors for using their best medical judgment,” Richards said. “As recent events in Pennsylvania show, it’s essential that we continue to elect champions who will protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion. Each of us deserves the opportunity to control our lives at the most basic level: our bodies, our families, and our life’s path, including whether and when to become a parent.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a 20-week abortion ban on Monday.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a 20-week abortion ban on Monday.