Gov. Tom Wolf vetoes bill that would prohibit abortion based on prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that would prohibit an abortion based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

In a statement Thursday, the governor called the legislation a “restriction on women and medical professionals and interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians.”

Gov. Wolf also said that the enforcement of the bill would “upend the doctor-patient relationship and impede on patient confidentiality.”

The governor added that he supports the bipartisan work to help families with disabilities and believes there’s more the state can do to help women and families facing pregnancies, but the legislation doesn’t aid in either effort.

“Gov. Wolf’s veto will prevent all children with Down’s Syndrome from going on to live happy and fulfilled lives,” said Eric Failing, executive director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. “Had Gov. Wolf signed this legislation, he would’ve ensured the protection of humanity’s most vulnerable lives. We thank all legislators who came together in a bi-partisan fashion to support this common-sense legislation, and PCC looks forward to working with them again to protect the sanctity of life.”

The bill started in the state House and made its way through the Senate on Wednesday.

You can read Gov. Wolf’s full statement below:

“Pursuant to Article IV, Section 15 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, I am returning herewith, without my approval, House Bill 321, Printer’s Number 1404.

“This legislation is a restriction on women and medical professionals and interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians. Physicians and their patients must be able to make choices about medical procedures based on best practices and standards of care. The prohibitions under this bill are not consistent with the fundamental rights vested by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

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

“Further, I am not aware of a single disability rights group that supports this bill. I support continuing the bipartisan work that’s been done to help people with disabilities. I also believe there is much more Pennsylvania could do to help women and families facing complex pregnancies. However, this bill does not aid in either of these efforts.

“For the reasons set forth above, I must withhold my signature from House Bill 321, Printer’s Number 1404.”

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