HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (LifeSiteNews) — The narrowly Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania House voted 117-86 on Wednesday to pass legislation making the Keystone State a haven for visitors who come to commit abortions that would be illegal in their home states.
HB 1786 declares that Pennsylvania law enforcement would have “no authority” over “any person for any matter in a tribunal outside of this Commonwealth involving the provision or delivery of reproductive health care services,” whether “medical, surgical, counseling or referral,” unless the “service” is also illegal within Pennsylvania. Law enforcement from other states would have no authority to act on their native abortion laws while in Pennsylvania or could the Commonwealth’s governor cooperate with such requests.
In practice, that means non-Pennsylvanians could perform elective abortions of both the surgical and chemical varieties up to 23 weeks, or later as long as the abortionist deems it necessary for “life” or “health” reasons, without fear of being extradited to their pro-life home states. Minors can abort with either parental consent or a judicial bypass. The only limits are that abortions cannot be specifically motivated by the child’s sex and must be prefaced with 24-hour waiting periods and informed consent either in person or by telephone.
“Access to safe and legal abortion is a serious issue for millions of Americans,” declared one the bill’s lead sponsors, Democrat state Rep. Mary Jo Daley. “With this legislation, we are sending a clear message that Pennsylvania will not be bullied by these states and their attempts to control other people’s bodies.”
However, the bill now moves to the state Senate, where it is not expected to make it past the 28-22 Republican majority.
Fifteen states currently ban all or most abortions, with available data so far indicating that pro-life laws that became enforceable when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 abortions a year.
In response, abortion allies pursue a variety of tactics to preserve abortion “access,” such as easy access to abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the practice in state constitutions rather than the U.S. Constitution, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors.
President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws. The 2024 elections will determine whether Democrats retain the White House and keep or gain enough seats in Congress to make that happen.
In August, Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro announced he was ending funding for a pregnancy support center that had contracted with the state to provide abortion alternatives for 30 years.