GOP Puts Up Constitutional Amendment Against Abortion Rights in PA

Kim Ward

The Pennsylvania Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee late Thursday night added an amendment to Senate Bill 106 that states that residents of the Commonwealth no longer have a right to an abortion.

Introduced by Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), the amendment states that “this constitution does not grant the right to taxpayer-funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion.”

The amendment passed through the committee by a party-line vote of 11-6.

Abortion amendment

SB 106, introduced by Sen. Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill), originally called for gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mate. The bill was altered to require voters to present valid identification prior to voting, before adding the Ward amendment.

The bill will move to the entire Senate for approval.

According to the Commonwealth’s constitution, amendments may be proposed in the Senate or the House of Representatives. If the amendment passes in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly, the amendment goes to Pennsylvania voters on the ballot at least three months after agreement. These amendments do not require the governor’s signature to be referred to the ballot.

Pennsylvania is one of 24 states that does not feature a process for citizen-initiated measure, such as ballot initiatives or veto referendums, at the statewide level. Of the original 13 states, only Maryland and Massachusetts feature the power of the initiative.

Ballotpedia reports that the Pennsylvania Constitution has been amended approximately 49 times since the most recent Constitution was adopted in 1968. The most recent amendments were approved by voters in 2021, including checks on the governor’s emergency powers.

The ballot initiative is a means by which citizens may propose to create, amend, or repeal a state law or constitutional provision through collecting petition signatures from a certain minimum number of registered voters. Successful initiative petition efforts result in the proposal being presented to voters within a state or other local government jurisdiction. Ballot initiatives are also referred to as ballot measurespopular initiativesvoter initiativescitizen initiatives, and propositions.

Ballot initiatives may take the form of either the direct or indirect initiative. Under the direct initiative, a measure is put directly to a vote after enough signatures are submitted. Under the indirect initiative, a measure is first referred to the state legislature, and then only put to a popular vote if not enacted by the legislature.

Veto referendums are a type of citizen-initiated ballot measure that asks voters whether to uphold or repeal a law passed by the state legislature, a city council, a county board of supervisors, or other legislative body.

This is a developing story.

6 Responses

  1. Passing these Amendments will mark the END of the Republicans’ control of the Legislature. The new districts leave control of the House very much up in the air this year, and Republican rank and file are not smart enough to be motivated by this arcane tactic. Dem voters, however, are VERY much aware of the threat this comprises. Voter enthusiasm polls port-Roe-overturn confirm this. House flips in 2022, Senate flips in 2024.

    PA Republicans are the very best at shooting themselves in the foot. Case in point: Mastriano, who only won because so MANY candidates refused to drop out of the primary.

  2. Taxpayer funded abortions is what this amendment to the PA Constitution is about. Why should the taxpayers foot the bill to murder an unborn child with a viable heartbeat? You want an abortion – you pay for it.

    1. I’m pushing back because you’re NOT thinking.

      As a result of this latest round of Republican fascism, we are now watching the horrors that are befalling women across the US as they are now being forced to carry pregnancies to term. Drugs that are necessary for women’s health are now being denied because it could cause a miscarriage, women being forced to give birth to children in a nightmare of brutality as they were raped. And as we all know by now, a 10 year old girl in Ohio would have been forced to give birth to a child as the result of a rape due to the Ohio GOP’s stupidity. The only kind of person that would wish such a horrible thing upon this girl and others like her are fascist monsters who call themselves “pro-life” – but let’s call the what they really are; “pro-birth.”

      I know a couple that are VERY close to me who looked forward to bringing their first child into the world 15 years ago. Things were going well during the pregnancy until after the sixth week when their obstetrician told them that the fetus would be born with anencephaly, a birth defect in which the baby will be born with little of any brain.

      It happened to them twice, and both times they made the heartbreaking decision to end the pregnancy.

      Though they are rare, horrific birth defects like anencephaly, Patau’s syndrome, congenital heart disease, harlequin ichthyosis, and cyclopia do occur. These examples – rape, the life of the mother, and fatal birth defects are why tax-funded abortion is often necessary.

      Women are going to die now as a result of the GOP’s shortsightedness and the voters of Pennsylvania cannot afford to let SB 106 stand.

    2. My heartbeat was viable. While I, by all modern standards (good job, well paid, know that my socio-economic life isn’t what makes me happy, etc.) am a successful human that was born w. birth defects, and have been living with end state kidney disease since childhood. I have experienced medical torture since I was born. I had multiple failed kidney transplants and now have been on dialysis for decades. Unfortunately, I have the will to continue living though I have no idea how much longer I could take having 17 guage needles inserted in to my arm (I will probably forego treatments if I no longer have arm access). If there was a way I could have known as a zygote what my future held, and I could talk to my mother at that time, I would tell her to abort, due to the hell I have been through (she believed in the right to abortion, but also wanted children at that time and had no idea I had a birth defect). By the way, thanks for assisting in paying the more than $1 Million per year it costs the gov’t for my insurance (sure you will come for that next). All these reasons are why you should pay for the few hundred dollars for one person’s abortion in so many cases.

    3. If you vote yes On SP106 you are voting for no exceptions. NO Exceptions… for rape, incest, life or health of the mother, ectopic, viability. None. Absolutely no exceptions.
      And BTW taxpayers already don’t pay for abortion. This is a shell game.

      The more you know.

  3. This is a ploy to pump up a demoralized base with the nomination of the horrifically bad candidacy of Sen Doug Mastriano. When the “wacky doodles” took over the Republican Party they forgot that winning is done through a tent approach in that everyone is welcome. Now, unfortunately, the inmates are running the Republican political asylum.

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