Apr. 29, 2020

HARRISBURG – House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) issues the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of Senate Bill 857:

“Pennsylvanians are facing the most direct health crisis to hit this country in the last 100 years. We need to ensure all resources are available to protect ourselves, treat our loved ones and eliminate COVID-19.

“Many of our states’ leading health care providers are already experiencing a massive increase in patients using telehealth resources during this pandemic. This is exactly why we passed Senate Bill 857, to expand telemedicine options. It is an incredibly important piece of legislation, particularly in rural Pennsylvania and other underserved communities.

“However, Gov. Wolf chose instead to veto the bill, blocking life-saving telemedicine resources during a pandemic. Instead, Gov. Wolf sided with abortion rights activists who wrongly believe the legislation as written impacts existing abortion law.

“The fact is simple; Senate Bill 857 does nothing to impact existing access to abortions in Pennsylvania because it codifies existing FDA regulations. The legislation does ensure dozens of medications, which can have significant side effects, are prescribed or delivered in person as required by federal law. Abortion medications are not singled out, and there is no change to a doctor’s ability to prescribe any of the medications on the federal list referenced in the bill.

“Gov. Wolf’s actions will deny health care access to millions of Pennsylvanians, and worse, he’s blocking that access based on an issue that does not exist. The federal list and FDA regulations is already law, so any prescription of these medications outside of the current FDA rules would be in violation of existing regulations. As a result, more Pennsylvanians will be forced to use in-person, COVID-19-related appointments, putting other patients and medical personnel unnecessarily at risk.

“I applaud members of the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, who voted to move this bill to the governor’s desk, and I look forward to working with each of them, to continue to address this much-needed issue in the future.”

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives