Bills To Restrict Abortion Rights Advanced In Pennsylvania

GOP lawmakers in the state House approved three bills to strictly regulate abortion rights, and Gov. Tom Wolf wants to veto them; KDKA's Kristine Sorensen reports.

Video Transcript

KYM GABLE: A set up for a showdown between the Republican-led state legislature and the Democratic governor. Today, GOP lawmakers in the House, approving three bills to strictly regulate abortion rights, and Governor Tom Wolf vowing to veto them. The Republican advance on abortion restrictions come as more states enact strict regulations, including in Texas where a proposal here has just become law.

STACY SMITH: Kristine Sorensen joins us now with a look at what the Republicans want and what the Governor is saying no to. Kristine.

KRISTINE SORENSEN: Well, Stacey and Kym, today Pennsylvania's House Health Committee voted along party lines to send three abortion restriction bills to the full House. The committee is made up of 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats. So here's what those bills would do. The bill known as the Heartbeat Bill would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That's typically about six weeks into pregnancy. It's the first time a bill with this provision has advanced in Pennsylvania. Now in Texas, the Republican governor just signed a six week abortion ban into law. A second bill approved today would ban abortion after a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Governors in Arizona and South Dakota recently signed similar bans, but Governor Wolf vetoed similar legislation here last year.

The third bill would require health care facilities to offer patients the opportunity to cremate or hold a burial for the fetal remains. Now, in a statement after today's votes, Governor Wolf called them a waste of time saying, quote, "I promise to veto every anti-abortion bill they've ever passed and ever will pass. But here we are. So I'll say it again, if these bills get to my desk, I will veto them," end quote. Now, supporters of these bills say they protect unborn children and prevent selective abortions for reasons of disability. Opponents argue they all create barriers to a woman's constitutional right to an abortion as decided by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade. We'll keep you updated as this develops. Kym.