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Pennsylvania governor vetoes bill that would outlaw abortions based on Down syndrome diagnosis
Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. (Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)

Pennsylvania governor vetoes bill that would outlaw abortions based on Down syndrome diagnosis

'Physicians and their patients must be able to make choices'

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed a bill Friday that would have made it illegal for women to choose abortion due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, according to the Associated Press.

The bill passed a Republican-majority Legislature, but didn't stand a chance of being signed into law by the pro-abortion Wolf, who said he did not believe the law should take this choice away from women to get an abortion because their child would have Down Syndrome.

"This legislation is a restriction on women and medical professionals and interferes with women's health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians," Wolf wrote in a statement. "Physicians and their patients must be able to make choices about medical procedures based on best practices and standards of care. The prohibitions under this bill are not consistent with the fundamental rights vested by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution."

There are two limits on abortion in Pennsylvania under current law: Women cannot get an abortion because of the gender of the baby, and they cannot get an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy unless it is deemed medically necessary.

Wolf's opposition was predictable — in 2017, he vetoed a bill that would have placed a 20-week limit on abortion.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, one in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome, which amounts to about 6,000 per year.

"There is no evidence that this bill is needed in Pennsylvania," Wolf said. "I have significant concerns that enforcement of this legislation would upend the doctor-patient relationship and impede on patient confidentiality. Further, I am not aware of a single disability rights group that supports this bill. I support continuing the bipartisan work that's been done to help people with disabilities. I also believe there is much more Pennsylvania could do to help women and families facing complex pregnancies. However, this bill does not aid in either of these efforts."

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