Councilman Wilson: ‘The Supreme Court of the United States took away the constitutional right of every American, every Pennsylvanian, every Pittsburgher to choose what happens to their body. I cannot accept that.’
By Ashlee Green
District 1 City Councilman Bobby Wilson introduced three bills at the June 28 meeting of Pittsburgh City Council in response to the recent Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) abortion ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization; the ruling overturned Roe v. Wade. Bill co-sponsors are District 8 Councilperson Erika Strassburger and District 5 Councilman Corey O’Connor.
SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, thereby effectively banning Americans’ constitutional rights to abortion at the federal level. The legality of abortion is now subject to state-by-state laws.
“I believe that everyone has a constitutional right to reproductive freedom in this country. Exercising this right entails the right to choose what happens to your body,” Councilman Wilson said in a press release.
The bills Wilson introduced are meant to take effect if Pennsylvania bans abortion. The first one, according to a press release, will “instruct the City of Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Police and other law enforcement agencies to de-prioritize enforcement of any abortion-related crime.” The second one will “regulate deceptive advertising by crisis pregnancy centers in the City of Pittsburgh,” and the third “aims to shield abortion providers in the City of Pittsburgh from out-of-state investigation or prosecution for providing abortion care that is legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
“…The Supreme Court of the United States took away the constitutional right of every American, every Pennsylvanian, every Pittsburgher to choose what happens to their body. I cannot accept that—that is why I introduced these three bills,” Councilman Wilson said. “Now, let’s stand up, unite, and fight to get back our right to choose.”
There are already abortion restrictions in effect in Pennsylvania: for example, while abortions are legal up to 24 weeks after a person’s last menstrual period, patients who wish to have an abortion are required to receive “counseling” that “includes information designed to discourage the patient from having an abortion,” according to the Guttmacher Institute. Patients must then wait 24 hours before receiving the procedure. Additionally, parents of minors seeking abortions must be notified and provide consent. You can read the full list of restrictions on abortion in Pennsylvania here.
Since taking office in 2015, Governor Tom Wolf has advocated for abortion rights throughout Pennsylvania. His term is up this year though, and with the state’s Republican-ruled General Assembly, abortion rights could soon be on the chopping block for Pennsylvanians too.
“As long as I am governor, I vow to protect abortion access and reproductive health care in Pennsylvania,” Wolf tweeted on June 24. “But we’re approaching a critical election cycle. I cannot stress enough how important it is to vote. Elections matter.”
This November, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro—an advocate of abortion rights—will face Republican Sen. Doug Mastriano—a stark anti-abortionist—in the polls to take Wolf’s seat.