AXIOS: Pennsylvania reacts to Roe v. Wade reversal

The reaction in Pennsylvania to the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was swift on both sides Friday.

The Women’s Law Project, a nonprofit that fights for abortion rights in Pennsylvania, called the decision “catastrophic to reproductive rights” in a released statement, criticizing the high court for serving “special interests instead of justice.”

  • The nonprofit said the Supreme Court’s ruling would empower anti-abortion state lawmakers, who are aiming to completely ban the procedure.
  • The group also warned that banning abortions would harm public health by increasing maternal and infant mortality, and that criminalizing the procedure could lead to a wave of mass incarceration.

Maria Gallagher, legislative director Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the state’s largest anti-abortion rights organization, said the ruling “overturned an injustice.”

  • “This is a historic day for pregnant women and their pre-born children and their families in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States,” she said.
  • The group supports a statewide abortion ban, as well as the proposed constitutional amendment, which says abortion isn’t guaranteed in the state constitution.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday that abortion is health care and the decision “paves the way for even more attacks on our constitutional rights.”

  • “It is negligent to ‘ban abortion’ when abortion procedures will still happen, but are more likely to be unsafe under restrictive policies, needlessly and knowingly putting people’s lives at risk,” Kenney wrote.

State House Speaker Bryan Cutler and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, both Republicans, said in a statement that the ruling presents a “necessary opportunity to examine our existing abortion law,” which is already underway.

  • “The ruling once again makes clear it is the authority of individual states to establish laws that are in the best interest of their residents,” they said.

Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans, of Philadelphia, said in a statement that the Supreme Court was “acting in defiance of the American people” and the ruling will have a disproportionate impact on Black, Latino, Indigenous communities, as well as those with disabilities, among others.

  • “Reproductive justice has always been about racial and economic justice, too,” he said.

Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said in a statement called Friday a “shameful day in the history of the Supreme Court.”

  • “A radical court will face the backlash of the majority of Americans who believe that people should have the right to an abortion,” he said.