Pennsylvania governor vows to reject bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks

(Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)Pro-life activists gather for the National March for Life rally in Washington, DC, U.S. January 27, 2017.

A piece of legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy has been approved by the Pennsylvania Senate, but Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto the bill when it reaches his desk.

Senate Bill 3, also known as "Pain-capable/dismemberment legislation,", which also prohibits dismemberment abortions, has been described by the governor as "radical and unconstitutional."

"The Senate seems bent on pushing through the most radical and unconstitutional bill to prohibit a woman from exercising her own right to make decisions regarding her own health," Wolf told reporters on Monday, according to Christian News.

The bill that was introduced by Republican Sen. Michele Brooks passed the Senate last Wednesday in a near-party-line vote at 32–18. The measure is now headed to the state House, which passed an identical bill last year.

The legislation seeks to amend the Abortion Control Act to reduce the current 24-week cutoff for abortions to 20 weeks, except in cases of medical emergency. It does not provide exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

The bill would also ban the technique known as "dilation and evacuation" and penalize the doctors who perform it.

Critics lamented the lack of medical expert testimony on the measure and said that it potentially carries unforeseen and dangerous consequences for doctors and people facing difficult decisions. Others have complained that the legislation is too restrictive on abortions.

"You're not going to tell a doctor what tools they can use to fix a heart valve, or what tools to use in brain surgery, but for some reason, we're trying to dictate what tools in this bill a doctor can use during a pregnancy. That's just insane," said Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton.

The state Senate currently holds a veto-proof majority, so it could override Wolf's veto. However, Wednesday's 32–18 vote would not be enough to reverse the veto, according to news website Billy Penn.

The Tribune-Democrat reported that three Republican senators voted against the bill while one Democrat voted in favor of it.

Two-thirds of the state House would also have to vote in favor of the bill to completely override the governor's veto.

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