(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) – On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) essentially struck down longstanding federal abortion protections – with the ruling, states can now choose to set their own rules for abortions, including outright prohibitions.
The notice published for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization of Judge Samuel Alito noted: “The Constitution does not confer the right to abortion; Roe and Casey are canceled; and the power to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
Several politicians and stakeholders issued statements following the SCOTUS decision.
Gov. Tom Wolf (D) made a point of announcing that abortion services are still available in Pennsylvania, then lamented the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Nevertheless, I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling today and the impact this decision will have nationwide. The right to bodily autonomy – and to privacy as a whole – is under attack in this country. We must do more to protect the rights of women and pregnant women in every state across the country that does not have a governor willing to exercise veto power.
“As we approach a critical election cycle here in Pennsylvania, I cannot stress enough the importance of exercising your personal right to vote. Elections matter,” the governor continued. not done overnight. Right-wing extremists are strategically planning to dismantle decisions made for decades to advance their agendas and divide our country with policies designed to infringe on our freedoms. They made it a vote in the one election at a time in our beloved country. We cannot allow this to continue.”
Wolf is committed to protecting access to abortion in Pennsylvania and welcoming women seeking services.
“For women and pregnant women in neighboring states and across the country where that’s not the case, you’re safe here in the Commonwealth,” Wolf said.
US Representative Mike Kelly (right) celebrated the decision in a brief statement.
“Today’s ruling is a major victory for the pro-life movement, but our work has only just begun,” Kelly said. “All little boys and girls deserve a chance in life, and this decision ensures they will have that chance. The right to life is not just for some of us, it is for all of us.
“I want to speak directly to those who have had abortions and are struggling to make their decision: You need to know that forgiveness and grace – for yourself and for others – will help heal these emotional wounds,” said Kelly continued. “As we move forward, I encourage everyone to remember a fundamental principle of this country that is still true today: each of us has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. .”
US Senator Bob Casey (D) released a statement criticizing the published opinion.
“Today’s decision overturns nearly half a century of legal precedent and tears apart a constitutional right that generations of women have known their entire lives,” Casey wrote. “This dangerous decision will not end abortions in this country, but it will put women’s lives at risk. And don’t get me wrong, that’s not the end goal, it’s just the beginning. Republicans in Congress want to pass federal legislation to completely ban abortion. Our daughters and granddaughters should not grow up with less rights than their mothers.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) issued a lengthy statement, also critical of the opinion.
“The Dobbs decision will go down as a shameful moment for our country and for the Court. Today, five Supreme Court justices have upended 50 years of established law and subjected the health and privacy of millions of American women to the whims of politicians.
“As a result of today’s decision, the personal freedoms of every American now depend on the state in which they live. Here in Pennsylvania, decisions about your body will now be left to Harrisburg’s elected officials, giving these politicians more power than women in our Commonwealth.
“Let’s be clear: for now, abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania. Our laws have not changed with this ruling, and abortion is legal in Pennsylvania until the 23rd week of pregnancy, and thereafter when necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. I plan to continue to defend doctors’ ability to practice medicine and women’s right to privacy against any effort to enforce an outdated rule requiring women to inform their husbands of their personal decisions.
“Unfortunately, I can’t give the same assurance to women in places like Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and other states across our country. The wheels are already in motion to ban abortion in more half of our country. I can promise you that if patients travel from these states to Pennsylvania, I will fight to protect them and their doctors from extremist politicians trying to interfere illegally,” Shapiro wrote.
Shapiro reiterated that abortion services remain legal in the Commonwealth, but he warned that the door was now open for the state legislature to ban or criminalize abortion. He has vowed to fight this legislation, if it materializes.
The Pennsylvania Family Institute — whose slogan is “Protect Life. Promote the family. Preserve Freedom” and whose stated goal is “that Pennsylvania be a place where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families prosper, and life is cherished,” celebrated the SCOTUS Opinion.
Retired judge Cheryl Allen of the Pennsylvania Family Institute called it a “monumental victory.”
“For the past 50 years, and after more than 2 million abortions here in Pennsylvania, Roe has prevented states from recognizing medical advances that have allowed us all to more fully observe the humanity of unborn children.”
In its written statement, the Pennsylvania Family Institute applauded the state legislature and criticized Governor Wolf, saying, “The PA General Assembly has attempted to improve the state’s outdated family law. abortion by passing several bills in recent years, including a ban on abortions. Yet these bipartisan, common-sense bills were opposed by pro-abortion Governor Tom Wolf.
In a tweet, Sen. Pat Toomey celebrated the ruling, writing, “Precedents that are ill-decided should be overturned, as should Brown v. Board of Education was correct to quash Plessy v. Ferguson. This decision is a victory for the unborn child, the Constitution and democratic governance.
Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of the Catholic Diocese of Erie released a statement on the decision.
“The Catholic Church has long insisted on its commitment to respect life from conception until natural death. Although Dobbs v. Jackson is an important decision, we recognize that there are many complexities associated with unexpected pregnancies and recognize that this is a difficult time for all Americans. We hope we can play a part in healing and unity.
“Everyone should know how to help parents in difficult circumstances. They need significant support and real accompaniment. Many parishes in the Diocese of Erie maintain relationships with a variety of organizations and resources for parents in need. The Diocesan Office of Social Justice and Life hopes to build on the work already in place, tapping into a network of advocates knowledgeable about a wide range of services and support.
“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has developed a new initiative, Walking with Moms in Need, accessible at www.walkingwithmoms.com. It is a step in the right direction.
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“We believe that all life is sacred and we are committed to the important work that remains to be done,” Bishop Persico wrote.