Politics

Pennsylvania Gov Vetoes Bill That Would Have Protected Babies With Down Syndrome From Abortion

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill Thursday that would have protected unborn babies with down syndrome from abortion.

House Bill 321, introduced by Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Kate A. Klunk, intended to “prohibit the abortion of any child solely due to a diagnosis of possible Down Syndrome.” Pennsylvania law allows abortions up to 24 weeks for any reason except gender selection, the Associated Press reports. HB 321 would have added restrictions on abortions performed because the baby had down syndrome — except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency.

Wolf’s veto came a day after the Pennsylvania Legislature passed the measure, the AP reports. But Wolf stressed that there is no evident need for a bill such as this. (RELATED: More Than Two-Thirds Of Americans Support State Safeguards On Abortions, Poll Shows)

The legislation would be both a restriction on women and medical professionals and would interfere with “crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians,” Wolf said in a statement Thursday.

“There is no evidence that this bill is needed in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in the statement. “I have significant concerns that enforcement of this legislation would upend the doctor-patient relationship and impede on patient confidentiality.”

Wolf added that the bill would impose restrictions “not consistent with the fundamental rights vested by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution” and said that he was not aware of any disability rights groups that support the bill.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser condemned news of Wolf’s veto, saying that Wolf signed “a death sentence” for babies with Down syndrome.

“Shame on Governor Wolf for blocking this compassionate, popular bill. He has signed a death sentence for countless unborn babies targeted for abortion merely because they may have Down syndrome,” Dannenfelser said in a statement. “The Pennsylvania legislature’s bold action is part of growing nationwide momentum to put an end to lethal discrimination – but Governor Wolf is an abortion extremist who consistently obstructs the will of Pennsylvanians.”

President Michael Geer of the Pennsylvania Family Institute slammed the move as an example of “eugenics.”

“Governor Tom Wolf believes it’s just fine to kill babies in the womb solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of a disability,” Geer said in a statement. “That is eugenics. That’s wrong. And one way Pennsylvanians can respond to Governor Wolf’s veto is by marching with us at the first-ever Pennsylvania March for Life on May 18, 2020. Together, we can tell Governor Wolf and everyone in Harrisburg that life should be protected.”

Klunk did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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