Late last night in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 107-92 to pass Senate Bill 106, a bill proposing separate and distinct amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
SB106 passed the Senate earlier on Friday with a vote of 28-22, mostly along party lines.
The most notable amendment in SB106 is one that Representative Dave Zimmerman (R-Lancaster) referred to as the “Life” amendment. “I plan to vote the bill,” Zimmerman told The Lancaster Patriot on Friday prior to the House vote. “And I especially support the ‘Life’ Amendment.”
The “Life” amendment was introduced by Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), and states that “this constitution does not grant the right to taxpayer-funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion.”
The amendment would make state legislation outlawing abortion more likely to stand against any challenges to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Democrat legislators opposed the bill, and several comments were made during session in support of abortion.
Representative Leanne Krueger (D-Delaware) said the bill creates a vehicle to ban abortion in Pennsylvania. “Abortion is safe and legal today,” Krueger said. “But it won’t be for long if this language becomes law. By this time next year, we could face the same abortion bans as Texas, or Alabama, or Oklahoma.”
Another representative expressed her support for the abortion rights of women and other “birthing people.”
The bill also calls for constitutional amendments requiring gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mates and requiring voters to present valid identification prior to voting, respectively.
In order for the amendments to be added to the Pennsylvania Constitution they must pass two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before going to Pennsylvania voters on the ballot at least three months after agreement. Constitutional amendments in Pennsylvania do not require the governor’s signature to be referred to the ballot. The proposed amendments will need to pass in the next session of the General Assembly before appearing on a ballot.