SB 956 establishes fetal “personhood” and denies a constitutional right to abortion in Pennsylvania.
 Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pennsylvania lawmakers advanced an anti-abortion constitutional amendment that would go before the electorate if it clears the GOP-controlled assembly.

As we anticipate the end of Roe v. Wade, some states (see: CaliforniaIllinois, and New Jersey) are rallying to protect the right to abortion access, while others are rushing to do the opposite.

Last week, Pennsylvania lawmakers advanced a permanent anti-abortion constitutional amendment and also moved to defund reproductive health care for low-income Pennsylvanians.

The proposed amendment, SB 956, establishes fetal “personhood” and denies a constitutional right to abortion in the state. According to the amendment: “The policy of Pennsylvania is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception to birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution.”

If passed, abortion restrictions in the state could no longer be challenged under the state constitution, limiting avenues for pregnant Pennsylvanians seeking relief from the courts. Instead, they’ll be criminalized at even higher rates. That could mean being incarcerated for having a miscarriage or even trying to have a child via in vitro fertilization. All bets are off when it comes to fetal personhood, and Pennsylvania lawmakers want to enshrine it in their state’s constitution.

As if that weren’t enough, SB 152 strips funding from abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, a major provider of all reproductive health care in the state. And poor, rural Pennsylvanians, especially pregnant people of color, will suffer most.

If the amendment passes the Republican-controlled assembly, it will bypass Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who’s said he’d veto any anti-abortion bill, and go before the electorate as a referendum.

What’s that? Do we hear voting rights calling?