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Consortium of PA abortion centers challenge constitutionality of 1982 Abortion Control Act

by | Feb 3, 2020

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Unable to push pro-abortion policy through the General Assembly, a consortium of Pennsylvania abortion centers are turning to the courts to try to secure tax funding of abortion in Pennsylvania.

The abortion facilities want state courts to rule the landmark 1982 Abortion Control Act unconstitutional. They further want abortion to be declared a “fundamental right” under the Pennsylvania state Constitution.

At issue is the Abortion Control Act’s ban against Medical Assistance funding for abortions. The alliance of abortion facilities contend that the ban discriminates against women of low-income who depend on government aid for their health care. 

If anything, abortion centers practice large-scale discrimination against poor women by targeting them for abortion. Rather than offer pregnant women in need comprehensive assistance, abortion purveyors provide only a cold-hearted offer to end the lives of their offspring.  

The Commonwealth Court at first blocked a group of state lawmakers from intervening in the case to defend Pennsylvania’s landmark law. But a court panel later reversed course, saying that 18 state Senators and eight Pennsylvania House members can now intervene in the high-stakes legal matter. 

The court concluded that the legislators could become parties to the case because the case’s outcome could impact their ability to legislate—in particular, their ability to appropriate government money. 

President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote that a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs “could bar the General Assembly from ‘tying legislative strings’ to its appropriation of funds for the Medical Assistance program.”  Judge Leavitt added, “The constitutional authority of the members of the General Assembly to control the Commonwealth’s finances constitutes a legally enforceable interest that entitles them to intervene and be heard before the court rules in this matter.” 

Way back in 1985, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Abortion Control Act. But the abortion facilities argue that the ruling “conflicts with recent development in Pennsylvania law, and is inconsistent with the modern-day understanding that any restriction on a woman’s reproductive autonomy is a form of sex discrimination.”

That statement is so ironic—given the fact that so many female babies are aborted in Pennsylvania. These women in the womb are denied their fundamental right to life—without any court to appeal to. In 2018 alone (the state Health Department reports),  more than 30,000 preborn children lost their lives to abortion, likely as not slightly more than half of them female.   

Much is at stake in this court case. If the courts were to rule in favor of the plaintiffs— the Allegheny Reproductive Health Center, the Allentown and Philadelphia Women’s Centers, and several Planned Parenthood agencies– the will of the vast majority of Pennsylvania residents would be thwarted. 

Time and time again, a large majority of Pennsylvanians have said they oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. And that is unlikely to change—even with a staunch pro-abortion politician like Tom Wolf in the Governor’s Office.     

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