Pennsylvania reacts: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with their decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The court’s decision in today’s case recognized a Mississippi state law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy as constitutional.

The overturning means that states will now be able to ban abortions.



It’s a sea of pink on Friday at Planned Parenthood in Downtown Pittsburgh as the Supreme Court’s decision in sinking in.

“It is so important that people in Pennsylvania know that abortion is still legal in the state and we are going to do everything we can to keep it that way,” said Sydney Etheredge who’s President of Planned Parenthood of Western PA.

But with the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that isn’t the case for some of our neighboring states as the power to determine if abortion is legal is now in the hands of state lawmakers.

“We’ve known for many years that states like Ohio and West Virginia and others have been restricting abortion access and now we know that about 26 states will be working to ban abortion with 13 of those states moving pretty immediately,” Etheredge said.

Etheredge said that’s why Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania is preparing to see more patients as people leave those states seeking abortions. It’s already happening since the leaked documents, she told Channel 11 people have come as far as Texas.

On the other side, PA Pro Life Federation is working to change the laws at home.

“If you average it out for days of the year it’s about 88 abortions a day that take place in Pennsylvania alone. Think about that in terms of kindergarten classes, every day you are wiping away 4 or 5 kindergarten classes. A graduation class this has a generational impact,” said Bonnie Finnerty with PA Pro-Life Federation.

While this group is happy for the Supreme Court’s decision, they are now working to educate people to vote lawmakers in that will implement similar abortion ban laws in the Commonwealth.

“Life begins at conception this is a living and breathing human being we are talking about. Also the damage that abortion does and it’s a failed solution to the problem of an unplanned pregnancy,” Finnerty said.

There are currently amendments and bills sitting in Harrisburg on both sides, but neither has been brought up for a vote.

UPDATE 6:05 p.m.

Protesters have gathered outside of Pittsburgh’s City-Council building to express their displeasure with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Here’s a look at the gathering.


UPDATE 5:55 p.m.

UPDATE 5:27 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters are gathered outside the city county building fighting for abortion rights. @WPXI pic.twitter.com/43fK4RFm3w

— Jillian Hartmann WPXI (@JillianWPXI) June 24, 2022

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.

A member of the Pittsburgh Steelers came forward earlier today to voice their displeasure with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Here’s what defensive lineman Cameron Heyward had to say:

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.

Abortion Defense Pittsburgh is planning a demonstration outside of the City Council Building at 6:00 p.m.

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.

A Pittsburgh City councilman submitted three bills today to be introduced during the next Pittsburgh City Council meeting.

Councilman Bobby Wilson submitted the bills in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The bills are designed to protect reproductive freedom in the city.

The first bill will instruct Pittsburgh police and other law enforcement to deprioritize enforcement of abortion-related crimes if Pennsylvania ever bans abortion.

The second bill will regulate advertisements that are considered deceptive by crisis pregnancy centers in the City of Pittsburgh.

The third bill is designed to protect abortion providers in Pittsburgh from out-of-state investigations or prosecution for providing abortion care that is legal in Pennsylvania.

“I believe that everyone has a constitutional right to reproductive freedom in this country. I further believe that the enjoyment of this right entails the exercise of the right to choose what happens to your body. Today, 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. Now, let’s stand up, unite, and fight to get back our right to choose,” said Councilman Wilson.

UPDATE 3:00 p.m.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.

President Joe Biden delivered remarks on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Here’s a look at what the president had to say.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania Congressman Conor Lamb also made a statement on the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Conor was commenting on a Planned Parenthood statement when sharing his thoughts.

UPDATE 2:13 p.m.

Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle has come forward and said that he believes that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is one of a few ongoing successes for the Republican party that he has seen this week. He also voiced concerns over how this decision could escalate and possibly lead to other Supreme Court decision changes.

Doyle also expressed the impact he believes this decision will have on American women.

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, Republican Senate nominee for Pennsylvania, has issued a statement on the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Oz reflected on experiences he had as a heart surgeon to justify why the decision to support pro-life ideas is so important to him. Here’s what he had to say.

UPDATE 1:53 p.m.

Channel 11′s Gabriella DeLuca has been learning more about the impact that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is having on Pennsylvania.


UPDATE 1:43 p.m.

Duquesne University has issued a statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Catholic university is pushing its student’s and overall family to be understanding and kind during the political discourse that comes with this decision.

Here is what the university told its community:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today on the abortion issue, which has long divided our nation and with which well-meaning people will disagree, is certain to stir intense emotions and conflicting views. We must respect one another in moving forward from this decision, as we have on other issues which potentially divide us.

Duquesne University respects that the United States operates under the rule of law, and that the judicial branch is an essential part of the design and structure of our democratic form of government. Moreover, we recognize that moral dimensions of issues can be more complex than the legal system can comprehensively address to the satisfaction of all citizens.

As a Catholic university founded and animated by the Spiritan tradition, Duquesne’s mission is centered on robust academic discourse and a commitment to all members of our campus community. We recognize that the Supreme Court’s decision today may have a significant range of impacts on our students, faculty and staff. The University will address their needs with compassion and action rooted in our commitment to service and care. All students, faculty and staff at Duquesne should understand that they are safe and protected, regardless of their views on this matter. Simultaneously, we will respect the Supreme Court’s ruling and the independent judicial system that has rendered this decision.

UPDATE 1:35 p.m.

Marla Brown, a Republican nominee for Pennsylvania State House representative issued the following statement on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“For more than fifty years, abortion has been the least-regulated medical procedure in the nation, with virtually any reason accepted, no enforceable time limit, and with parental rights abrogated by activist judges and an industry that sought an end to any limits. With today’s decision by the Supreme Court, that ends. It needed to end a long time ago. This is not a time for triumphal demonstrations, nor is it a moment for unrestrained outrage by the other side. Rather, it is time for a calm, reasoned discussion in our commonwealth about what constitutes a human life and under what circumstances we may end it. I would argue that human life is sacrosanct and to be taken only in the direst of circumstances. I think that is a view of the majority. That is the issue that now falls, as it rightly should, to individual states in the union. It is now up to Pennsylvania’s legislature to encourage a culture of life and to stand strong in recognizing that children in the womb never emerge as anything less than human.”

UPDATE 1:28 p.m.

The CEO and President of Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced that the company will provide $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to employees who want or need an abortion and live in a state where they are banned. The benefit will also be given to spouses or dependents of anyone involved with the company’s legal plan. One support person will also be available to those who need it.

TWEET ADDED 4:45 p.m.

UPDATE 1:18 p.m.

Bishop David Zubik of the Diose of Pittsburgh came forward with a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The statement said:

Those of us who have worked and prayed to protect unborn children are profoundly grateful that the Supreme Court of the United States has determined that there is not a constitutional right for abortion.

In response, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will continue to support and encourage legislation that protects unborn children.

We support women with crisis pregnancies and young families who struggle to raise their children. We offer medical and social assistance through Catholic Charities and collaborate with additional groups that provide childcare, life skills, education, shelter and help with other basic needs.

Now, more than ever, our parishes are encouraged to participate in Walking with Moms in Need, a project of the U. S. Catholic bishops that prepare every parishioner to assist someone who needs support to carry or raise a child.

We also offer Project Rachel, a ministry of healing for women who have had abortions and those who have supported them in that decision.

We pray for many lives to be saved. It is time for a healthier national conversation about pregnancy and parenting, one that recognizes the real difficulties and creates ways to support pregnant women and to welcome children.

UPDATE 1:11 p.m.

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano said in a statement that his supporters should celebrate a pro-life victory but not be distracted by the abortion debate. Mastriano asks his followers to keep rising prices, crime and jobs in mind moving forward.

Mastriano’s statement read:

“Roe v. Wade is rightly relegated to the ash heap of history. As the abortion debate returns to the states, Pennsylvania must be prepared to lead the nation in being a voice for the voiceless. While this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a triumph for innocent life, it must not take our focus away from the key issues facing Pennsylvania families. Pennsylvanians will not be distracted by the hysterics of the left as they exploit this ruling to try to fulfill their far-left agenda. As they struggle with all-time record-high inflation, the people care deeply about the price of gas and groceries, as well as out-of-control crime and good-paying jobs – which is exactly why I will prioritize these issues as their governor.”

UPDATE 1:05 p.m.

Highmark Health has come forward and said that they will continue to act in accordance with the laws of the communities that they serve.

The company is also reassuring women that they will not be treated differently by their company after the overturn.

“Through its diverse portfolio of businesses, Highmark Health is also committed to providing a complete range of high-quality health benefits and services to women at every stage of life, and that will not change with this decision. Allegheny Health Network is also focused on educating and training future generations of women’s health care professionals,” said a spokesperson of Highmark Health.

UPDATE 1:00 p.m.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade has put Pennsylvania in an important position. The state’s governor and multiple officials from the city of Pittsburgh have come forward saying that they will fight to keep reproductive healthcare available in the state.

Click here for a deeper look at the role Pennsylvania will play after the Supreme Court’s decision.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald came forward voicing fears that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will have a negative impact on his six daughters.

I’m the father of eight, including six daughters. My wife and I worked hard to ensure that every one of our children were treated equally and had the same opportunities. Today, the @USSupremeCourt has taken us backwards with this decision.

— Allegheny Co. Exec. (@ACE_Fitzgerald) June 24, 2022

Fitzgerald issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“The decision by the Court today eliminates the constitutional right to an abortion nearly 50 years after that was settled law and is a clear reflection of the politics of the current Court. It is quite obviously an attack against women and the right to bodily autonomy and privacy.

“Today, Pennsylvania continues to offer reproductive health services and the Governor has made it clear that he will continue to protect the rights of women and pregnant people, abortion access and reproductive health care. But those protections are not guaranteed and it’s upon us to ensure that we have leaders in office that reflect our beliefs.

“We all have an opportunity to make our voices heard, the ability to protect a woman’s right to choose, and can make it clear what we expect of our leaders - today and at the ballot box in November. Without action by all of us, this decision can be the beginning of continued efforts to erode the rights of all.”

UPDATE 12:45 p.m.

Pittsburgh City controller Michael Lamb has spoken out against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The city officials says that he will work to maintain abortion rights in Pittsburgh.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe sets a reckless precedent. Make no mistake: this decision is dangerous and will put women’s lives at risk. Bodily autonomy is a human right,” said Lamb. “I will do whatever I can to fight for reproductive freedom for women in Pittsburgh, across the Commonwealth, and in all 50 states. I also call on the Pennsylvania state legislature and the United States Congress to act and codify abortion rights.”

UPDATE 12:40 p.m.

President Joe Biden is speaking about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Click here to watch LIVE.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania Senator Jay Costa (D) issued a statement saying that he finds the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision disheartening and believes that the Supreme Court is wrong. Costa views abortions as a part of healthcare and feels it is a violation of authority to deny people of care related to bodily autonomy.

“Instead of restricting healthcare for women, Senate Democrats are committed to making the healthcare system work even better for women and their specific health needs. Instead of stripping women of their rights and opening the door for others to lose fundamental rights as well, Senate Democrats will use our positions to identify real health challenges and solutions for women in this Commonwealth. Proactive, unbiased, convenient, and supportive healthcare can easily be a reality for women, and we will continue to make it a priority,” said Costa in his statement.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.

Planned Parenthood said that they expect 26 states will begin to restrict or ban abortions. While they believe that Pennsylvania will not be one of those states, they are prepared to fight for abortion rights in an unknown future.

“I am saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision today. While we knew this could be our reality following the leaked opinion, knowing now that we will be living in a post-Roe world is heartbreaking. For now, abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania, and we will do everything in our power to keep it that way. Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania wants to let those who are seeking an abortion know that we are here for you. Your decision to control your lives, bodies, and futures should be yours, and yours alone, and we will not compromise on this,” said President and CEO, Sydney Etheredge.

In response to the possible bans, the organization is providing resources available to anyone who wants or needs an abortion.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.

The Diocese of Greensburg has issued a statement saying despite changes in the world and culture in the years that Roe v. Wade has been in place, they still stand firm in their beliefs to support pro-life policies and ideas.

“Although our language has evolved as science and technology have developed, the Church’s moral foundation on the issue of life, from conception to natural death, has never changed,” said Bishop Kulick.

The bishop goes on to say that the church considers human life to be sacred and that recognizing life as something less would be a violation of the Sacred Scripture.

According to the Diocese of Greensburg, The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines human life as sacred because “from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.”

UPDATE 12:05 p.m.

Representative Austin Davis said that he remains committed to protecting women’s right to choose if they want an abortion or not. Davis views the overturning as an attack on women’s bodies and believes the decision is not just a moral matter but also a health issue.

“Reversing Roe v. Wade is not only an attack on the right to an abortion but puts a person’s essential freedoms, including their ability to make decisions about their own body, at risk,” said Davis. “The consequences of this decision are severe and far-reaching. Restricting abortion access can threaten the health of pregnant people and babies, increase maternal mortality rates and force low-income women and families to face further financial hardships.

UPDATE 11:57 a.m.

A women’s march is expected to be held in Pittsburgh in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Participants are expected to gather outside of the city county building at around 5:00 p.m. Check back with WPXI for more updates on the event.

UPDATE 11:46 a.m.

The Concerned Women for American of Pennsylvania is advocating to seize the overturning as an opportunity to reduce abortion laws in Pennsylvania.

“Every child deserves the right to life. Roe was wrong from the start. Today’s significant decision is welcomed after decades of pro-life activism. Individual states are now finally free to protect life,” said a representative of the organization.

The CWA believes that Pennsylvania will become a hot spot for women who are unable to get abortions in other states. As a result, they are pushing to change state laws as quickly as possible.

“It is up to the citizens of this great Commonwealth to do our part. We must work tirelessly to elect legislators and a governor who support the culture of life and who will pass life-affirming legislation,” said the CWA.

UPDATE 11:37 a.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania came forward saying that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a decision that matches an extremist political agenda.

“Anti-abortion politicians are on notice that we will meet them wherever they are, from statehouses to courthouses to the streets to the campaign trail. A radical court will face the backlash of the majority of Americans who believe that people should have the right to an abortion,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

The organization went on to say that the decision marks a dangerous moment in United States history, setting a precedent of overturning decisions that have been common practice for extended periods of time.

“It is unheard of for the Supreme Court to overturn a right that Americans have known for nearly five decades. This ruling is a radical step in the absolute wrong direction. We plan our lives around long-established rights, and there’s no telling how far this court will go in rolling back its own precedents, from birth control to marrying who we love to even the right to vote,” said Sara Rose, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

UPDATE 11:27 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation said that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a success for women and children.

“More than 63 million preborn children have lost their lives to this abominable decision. In addition, countless mothers have been left to grieve babies lost to abortion. With today’s landmark ruling, the issue of abortion policy rightfully returns to the states, where the public, through their duly elected representatives, can pursue policies that protect preborn children and their mothers from harm,” Gallagher said. “We commend the High Court for recognizing the truth that a so-called ‘right’ to abortion appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution,” Gallagher said. “This is a day of victory for the most vulnerable among us.”

The organization said that women who are not ready to have a child but are pregnant can look for alternative options. They mentioned the state-assisted Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program as a path for pregnant women who do not want to keep a child but are against or can not have abortions.

“No pregnant woman in Pennsylvania should feel as if she is alone. Pregnancy help centers stand ready to offer no-cost assistance and the emotional support every pregnant woman deserves,” said Gallagher.

UPDATE 11:23 a.m.

Pittsburgh Public Safety announced that they will be prepared to for protests that happen in response to the overturning of Roe. vs. Wade.

“Police are prepared for all contingencies should there be any rallies/demonstrations. Police have made it a priority to respect demonstrators First Amendment rights while also ensuring public safety,” said a representative of Pittsburgh Public Safety.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m.

UPMC has issued a statement saying that they will continue to provide reproductive services in accordance with applicable state laws.

UPDATE 11:17 a.m.

Mayor Ed Gainey said that he will be working to defend abortion rights in the city of Pittsburgh and in the state of Pennsylvania.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is an attack on the civil and human rights of our entire country. Abortion is healthcare and denying the right to bodily autonomy of women, trans men, non-binary, and disabled people in America is stripping them of their fundamental right to privacy. Abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania and I will do whatever it takes to protect and defend that right in Pittsburgh and across our entire Commonwealth. We must ensure that people can make decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures and all of us must recommit ourselves to the work of making America more just and equal for everyone,” said Gainey.

UPDATE 11:07 a.m.

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and the Democratic candidate for state governor said that he will fight for state abortion rights if he is elected.

“Our next Governor will decide whether abortion remains legal in our Commonwealth – I will defend the freedom of Pennsylvania women to make decisions over their own bodies,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro said that he believes he his opponent would eliminate abortion in the state.

“Our state Legislature is poised to pass a law banning abortion in Pennsylvania, and my extremist opponent Doug Mastriano would sign that bill into law as Governor. Mastriano wants to dictate how Pennsylvanians live their lives – he has said he wants to ban all abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother, and that he wants to throw doctors and nurses in jail for providing reproductive health care. Mastriano wants to take away Pennsylvanians’ freedoms – the freedom to make decisions over your own body and the freedom to decide when and how to start a family,” said Shapiro.

UPDATE 11:01 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Family Institute is supporting the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. They are hopeful that the decision will result in stricter abortion policies in the state.

“Today, in an incredible landmark ruling, the United States Supreme Court has officially overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood, empowering states to fully protect unborn life by their 5-4 decision in Dobbs v Jackson,” said the organization.

“Today we celebrate the overturning of Roe v Wade, a monumental victory for unborn children and their mothers,” says retired Judge Cheryl Allen, of the Pennsylvania Family Institute. “For the past 50 years, and after over two million abortions here in Pennsylvania, Roe has held states back from acknowledging medical advancements that have allowed all of us to more fully observe the humanity of unborn children,”

UPDATE 10:54 a.m.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) has come forward with concerns that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will not only impact today’s women but also the future generations of women.

“Today’s decision upends almost a half century of legal precedent and rips away a constitutional right that generations of women have known their entire lives. This dangerous ruling won’t end abortions in this country, but it will put women’s lives at risk. And make no mistake—this is not the end goal, it’s just the beginning. Republicans in Congress want to pass federal legislation to completely ban abortion. Our daughters and granddaughters should not grow up with fewer rights than their mothers,” said Casey.

UPDATE 10:51 a.m.

Governor Tom Wolf also shared his thoughts on today’s Supreme Court decision on Twitter, again reminding Pennsylvania citizens that he plans on keeping abortion services available in the state.

UPDATE 10:45 a.m.

Governor Tom Wolf has issued a statement following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The governor plans on maintaining abortion rights in the state of Pennsylvania. The governor says that he will veto any anti-abortion bills that come to his desk.

“First and most importantly, it is critical that everyone understands that abortion services are available and unharmed in Pennsylvania by today’s Supreme Court action. Providers may still provide reproductive health care services and patients should continue the health care plan they’ve developed with their physicians. Nonetheless, I am deeply disappointed in today’s Supreme Court opinion and the impact this decision will have nationwide. The right to bodily autonomy—and privacy as a whole—is under attack in this country. We must do more to protect the rights of women and pregnant people in every state across the country that doesn’t have a governor willing to wield their veto pen. As we approach a critical election cycle here in Pennsylvania, I cannot stress enough how important it is to exercise your personal right to vote. Elections matter. This decision did not happen overnight. Right-wing extremists have been strategically planning to dismantle decades long decisions to further their agendas and divide our country with policies designed to infringe upon our freedoms. They have done so one vote at a time, one election at a time across our beloved nation. We cannot allow this to continue. Americans are feeling defeated and angry today, and I don’t blame them. However, as long as I am governor, I vow to protect abortion access and reproductive health care in Pennsylvania. To women and pregnant people in surrounding states and across the country where this isn’t the case, you are safe here in the commonwealth,” said Wolf.

Since taking office, Gov. Wolf has vetoed three different anti-abortion bills passed by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly and vowed to veto the rest.

UPDATE 10:40 a.m.

Unlike John Fetterman, Republican Senator for Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey is supporting the Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to determine their own abortion laws.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m.

Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senate candidate, John Fetterman, came forward and said that he would continue to fight for the right to abortions if elected.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.

The Supreme Court shared their decision to overturn the decision at around 10:10 Friday morning.