NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Call it what you will, but late-term abortion is wrong

After vetoing a bill Monday that would have banned late-term dismemberment abortions in his state, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf accused Republicans of trying to impose the “most extreme anti-choice legislation in the country.”

The bill he vetoed, in fact, would ban abortions after 20 weeks in which an unborn, nearly fully formed baby, is torn apart prior to removal from the womb in a process called dilation-and-evacuation.

The governor’s use of the term “anti-choice” as opposed to “pro-life” is central to the issue. And he is mimicking the lingo of Planned Parenthood in his argument for brutally ending potentially viable lives within the womb.

“Tom Wolf is a puppet of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s No. 1 provider of abortions, and is going to gladly accept their special-interest money for more political favors,” Greg Manz, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, told Fox News after the governor’s veto.

Under current Pennsylvania law, abortions aren’t permitted after 24 weeks (the accepted stage of likely viability, when a baby can survive outside the womb), but there are exceptions if the life of the mother is endangered. In Indiana, according to the Guttmacher Institute, “an abortion may be performed at 20 or more weeks postfertilization (22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period) only if the woman’s life or physical health is severely compromised.” This law is based on the assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that point in pregnancy.

“This is a sad day for women and children in Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Executive Director Michael Ciccocioppo said Monday. “No living child should have to endure being ripped limb by limb from a mother’s womb, and no mother should have to endure the emotional pain of losing a child in such a brutal manner.”

In its landmark 1973 abortion cases, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a woman’s right to an abortion is not absolute and that states may restrict or ban abortions after fetal viability.

Though the Pennsylvania bill received strong, bipartisan support, the state legislature appears to be just short of enough votes to override Wolf’s veto, according to Fox News. The U.S. House passed a similar bill earlier this year, with a vote in the Senate expected in early 2018.

Stopping a beating heart and dismembering a tiny body is the wrong “choice.” We support our state and others in their efforts to roll back the impact of the 1973 failure of the Supreme Court.