Pa., N.J. governors lament ‘truly dark day in America’

Rob Tornoe
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — In the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the commonwealth will not follow other states in banning most abortions during his tenure.

“Abortion is and will remain legal in Pennsylvania,” Wolf wrote Monday night on Twitter, promising to veto any laws restricting abortion passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

The Supreme Court’s final ruling isn’t expected until June or July, and the court’s opinion could change between now and then. But if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortions in Pennsylvania would be governed primarily by the Abortion Control Act, which features a number of abortion access laws — including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion and parental consent for those under 18.

Wolf’s second term as governor will end in January, when the winner of the 2022 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election is sworn in. There is only one Democrat running for governor — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro — who also promised to veto any Republican-passed legislation that bans abortion.

The crowded Republican field for governor will be settled in Pennsylvania’s primary election on May 17. Former congressman Lou Barletta, one of the nine candidates, promised in a statement to be a “pro-life governor” and sign “pro-life legislation.”

New Jersey law: Across the river, New Jersey is one of 16 states with laws in place that would keep in place legal protections for women seeking abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights think tank.

New Jersey passed a bill enshrining the right to an abortion that Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law in January.

“Regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, New Jersey’s position in support of the right to reproductive autonomy will remain clear and unchanged,” Murphy said during the signing ceremony.

On Monday night, Murphy called the draft Supreme Court ruling a “truly dark day in America,” but assured New Jersey residents their access to safe and legal abortions would not be impacted.

“Access to reproductive health care remains available to anyone who needs it in New Jersey,” Murphy wrote.