HARRISBURG, Pa. — A bill seeking to protect those who travel to Pennsylvania for abortions by prohibiting public officials from cooperating with authorities in other states that criminalize the practice advanced Wednesday in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
The legislation passed 117-86. He now moves on to the GOP-controlled state Senate, where he faces a cold reception.
The measure seeks to prevent public officials in Pennsylvania, where abortion is legal up to 24 weeks, from cooperating with authorities in other states who are trying to prevent their residents from coming to Pennsylvania for abortions.
All but one Democrat voted in favor of the bill, while 16 Republicans joined them.
At least 16 states (mostly Democratic-controlled states) have adopted laws seeking to protect access to abortion since last year. Many of these laws have provisions that protect providers and people who come from other states seeking an abortion. Although abortion advocates have discussed cracking down on those who cross state lines to obtain abortions, prosecutions of such cases have not been widespread.
Pennsylvania Democrats praised legislation to protect women following last year’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion rights.
The bill’s lead sponsor, Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Daley of Montgomery County, said it was sending a clear message “that Pennsylvania will not be intimidated by these states and their attempts to control other people’s bodies.”
“I firmly believe that Pennsylvania must continue to pass policies that protect access to abortion and other critical reproductive measures. health care services that the people of our nation need and deserve,” he said.
Republicans expressed concern about the constitutionality of the bill, saying the Legislature would overstep its bounds.
Rep. Charity Grimm Krupa, R-Fayette, said that while proponents of the bill were trying to focus it on abortion rights to fit the political climate, it was an affront to the clause in the U.S. Constitution that states States must respect the judicial power. process of others.
“Everyone in this room swore an oath to defend the Constitution,” he said. “If you vote yes on this bill, regardless of your position on abortion, you are ignoring your oath. You’re throwing that oath in the trash. “I refuse to do that.”
Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro has positioned himself as a defender of abortion rights. He recently severed decades-long ties with Real Alternatives, an organization that discouraged women from having abortions.
Abortion rights were a major factor in the recent state Supreme Court race and, nationally, have boosted Democrats at the polls after the nation’s highest court overturned Roe V. Wade last year. .
Some of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states have tried to protect abortion access, but those from states where abortion rights have been restricted have come to Pennsylvania in greater numbers seeking services. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, centers in Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania saw sharp increases in appointments of women in West Virginia and Ohio, where voters recently approved an amendment to protect access to abortion.