Smucker, Perry join call for Supreme Court to 'reconsider' Roe v. Wade

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
U.S. Congressmen Lloyd Smucker, left, and Scott Perry take the stage with President Donald Trump, right, at a "Keep America Great" rally at the Giant Center in Hershey Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Bill Kalina photo

U.S. Reps. Scott Perry and Lloyd Smucker on Thursday joined 205 other members of Congress calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning its landmark abortion access decision, Roe v. Wade.

The two Republicans representing parts of York County signed an amicus brief Thursday, Jan. 2, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on a 2014 Louisiana law that would force abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a move that, opponents say, could end access to the procedure throughout the state. 

The 1973 Roe decision has proven "unworkable," the brief states. It cites the "herculean struggles" the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had when grappling with the Louisiana law. 

"Roe did not actually hold that abortion was a 'fundamental' constitutional right, but only implied it," the brief contends. 

Smucker, of Lancaster, and Perry, of Carroll Township, have consistently opposed abortion throughout their political careers. In 2017, Perry co-sponsored legislation that aimed to ban abortions nationwide once a fetal heartbeat was detectable. Courts have repeatedly struck down similar bills adopted at the state level. 

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U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., also signed on to the brief that says Roe should be "reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled." Reps. Colin Peterson, of Minnesota, and Dan Lipinski, of Illinois, were the only two Democrats to attach their names.

In a statement, Toomey's office said the senator supports abortion only in cases of rape, incest of if a mother's life is in danger.

"He has long stated that he believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and it’s the role of legislatures to make laws, not the courts." the statement read. "This is a view that is shared by a majority of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation.  "

The brief marks a departure from recent efforts among anti-abortion activists to slowly chip away at Roe v. Wade. This is all happening as lawmakers, including Perry and Smucker, are up for reelection in 2020.

The Thursday brief also states the Supreme Court should look into overturning Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which built upon the historic Roe ruling by outlawing abortion laws that place an "undue burden" on women.

Just one abortion provider in Louisiana has received the privileges required to comply with the state law, which opponents argue means abortion services would be left virtually nonexistent if the law were to go into effect.

The Louisiana law is nearly identical to a law passed in Texas in 2014, which was struck down by the Supreme Court prior to President Donald Trump's appointment of two conservative justices. 

Now, things may be different, with Trump's appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, both of whom voted against a stay for the Louisiana law in February 2019.

The two conservative judges were unable to overcome a 5-4 majority, because Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the bench's liberal flank. The law had previously gone back and forth between district court and the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court.

Neither Perry nor Smucker responded Thursday to inquiries for comment.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.