The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania upper chamber passed an amendment to the state Constitution on Thursday that would declare there is no enumerated right to an abortion, NBC’s WGAL 8 reported.
The amendment, which also states that there is no right to taxpayer-funded abortion, will now head to the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
It was also joined into a larger bill that includes other changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution, including one requiring voter ID for statewide elections.
Unlike most states, Pennsylvania does not require either the governor’s signature to certify a constitutional amendment or grant him veto power if passed, The Hill noted.
Instead, amendments get enacted via a majority in both chambers over two separate sessions divided by an election, where voters will be made aware of the changes before electing a new Legislature to certify them.
Democrat lawmaker Sharif Street accused state Republicans of attempting to circumvent the veto pen of his fellow Democrat, Gov. Tom Wolf, according to WGAL.
“They talk about wanting to respect the rights of the public, but I think in some respects, they are attempting to circumvent the process,” Street said.
“The public pays a lot more attention to the election of governor, the election of U.S. senators, those elections than they do these ballot initiatives,” he added.
Meanwhile, Republican state Sen. Judy Ward told The Associated Press that the measure would not outlaw abortion in the state but merely permit the Legislature to set abortion law in the future.
“Our Abortion Control Act will still remain in place,” Ward said. “And this constitutional amendment will just go to the people, and it allows us in the Legislature the ability to set these rules and laws concerning abortion in this commonwealth.”