Pennsylvania Supreme Court Weighs in on Medicaid Funding of Abortions

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last Monday issued a 219-page opinion on funding of abortions by Medicaid. While the complex ruling found that the state’s 1982 Abortion Control Act appears to discriminate based on sex, indicating that the ban prohibiting payment for abortions is “presumptively unconstitutional,” the state’s high court sent the case back to Commonwealth Court to resolve that question. The case could be a step on the way to the court recognizing there is a right to abortion under the state constitution. Under the 1982 Abortion Control Act passed by the Pennsylvania legislature, Medicaid prohibits reimbursement for abortions in all instances other than rape or incest, or to prevent the death of the woman. Five years ago, a group of seven abortion providers across Pennsylvania, alleging that the ban discriminates on the basis of sex, filed a petition challenging the prohibition under Pennsylvania’s Equal Rights Amendment.