Pennsylvania governor vetoes bill aimed at banning dismemberment abortions

(Reuters/Mike Segar)FILE PHOTO - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf speaks on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have banned dismemberment abortions, also known as dilation and evacuation (D&E), which is typically used during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Senate Bill 3, which was also aimed at banning abortions after 20 weeks, passed the state legislature last week with strong bipartisan support.

However, Wolf rejected the measure on Monday saying the ban was "extreme" and "restrictive" for women.

"This legislation is a disingenuous and bald-faced attempt to create the most extreme anti-choice legislation in the country," the governor said, according to Breitbart News.

"This legislation is an attempt to criminalize the decisions that women make about their own health care, and this legislation destroys health care options for victims of the horrors of rape and incest. For these reasons, I am vetoing this bill today," he added.

Under current Pennsylvania law, abortions are banned after 24 weeks of pregnancy, but there are exceptions if the life of the mother is endangered. SB3 also contained an exception to prevent the death of the mother, but it did not include an exception in cases of rape, incest or those with seriously malformed fetuses.

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, commended the governor for vetoing the bill.

"We thank Governor Wolf for standing strong to protect women's health and rights," said Cecile Richards, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, according to The Hill.

Republican lawmakers have accused Wolf of being a "puppet" of the abortion giant. "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," said Greg Manz, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party.

Despite the strong bipartisan support for the bill, the state legislature does not appear to have enough votes to override Wolf's veto.

The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 32–18 in February, while the House passed it last week by a 121-70 vote. To override the veto, the Senate needs 33 votes from its 50 members, while the House would need 136 votes.

Wolf had already vetoed 21 bills, including SB3, during his three years in office, and none of his vetoes had been overridden.

WHYY reported that this was the second time the Republican-controlled legislature introduced a measure to restrict abortion in Pennsylvania. Last year, a similar bill failed after it was stalled in the Senate.

At the national level, a similar bill was approved by the U.S. House earlier this year, but it is not expected to pass when the Senate votes on the measure early next year as Republicans only have a slim majority in the upper chamber.

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