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The Right to Abortion in Pennsylvania

February 21, 2024

In the realm of reproductive justice, good news is scarce. Today, I write with some hope: Pennsylvania is considering removing a barrier to abortion access. To many, this signals a move toward finding the right to abortion in Pennsylvania’s constitution.

Currently, Pennsylvania provides Medicaid coverage of abortion in limited circumstances, but a recent ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court opens the door to expand coverage. Abortion providers brought a challenge, asking the court to consider “whether the state Medicaid law unconstitutionally singled out a procedure sought only by women and differentiated between women who carry to term and women who get an abortion.” (To be clear, while the word “women” is used in the language of the challenge, we understand that to include trans men, gender fluid and nonbinary people who can also become pregnant.)

The court held that abortion providers could proceed with their challenge to the ban on Medicaid coverage under the Pennsylvania Constitution, stating what we all know to be true: “Whether or not to give birth is likely the most personal and consequential decision imaginable in the human experience.” Thus, self-determination depends on our right to make that decision.

As Jessica Mason Pieklo puts it, the ruling is a “tremendous win” for providers and their patients, and future litigation looks promising; the providers’ challenge “will almost certainly succeed.” We at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation celebrate this win. We know that abortion access is at the heart of our fundamental human rights to sexual freedom, bodily autonomy, and reproductive justice.


Photo of the PA Capitol Building

A photo of the PA state capitol with a sign reading "The Pennsylvania State Capitol" ()

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