Pennsylvania politicians react to SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade


Reaction to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s The decision by the Pennsylvania Politicians’ Health Organization was quick but not unexpected. And while Democrats sounded the alarm about what the decision might mean, Republicans handled the decision more cautiously.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, for his part, co-sponsored a “fetal heartbeat” bill it would drastically restrict access to abortion to six weeks after conception, and it does not provide exceptions for cases of rape or incest. In a statement released hours after the ruling was delivered, Mastriano praised the fact that court rulings upholding abortion rights had been “rightly relegated to the ash heap of history,” and said that “Pennsylvania must be prepared to lead the nation in being a voice for the voiceless.”

But his statement was quick to add that the decision “should not divert our attention from the major issues facing families in Pennsylvania,” such as gas prices and inflation.

“Pennsylvanians will not be distracted by left-wing hysteria as they exploit this decision to try to achieve their far-left agenda,” he said.

Mastriano’s Democratic rival, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, had more to say about the decision, calling it a “devastating day for America” ​​in a tweeted response.

During a noon press call with reporters, Shapiro said, “I feel and hear the pain, the anger and the sadness of the women of Pennsylvania who are having their rights taken away.” Given a legislature that had already passed bills to restrict access to abortion, he said: “There is only one way to ensure that abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania, which is to twin the race of this governor.”

Shapiro’s deputy lieutenant governor, state Rep. Austin Davis, argued the decision is “especially dangerous for black women in Pennsylvania,” who are “three times more likely to die from related causes. to pregnancy than other women.

Shapiro also released a statement in his capacity as attorney general, in which he called the decision a “shameful moment” that meant “every American’s personal freedoms now depend on the state in which they live.”

Still, he reiterated that for now, at least, the ruling hasn’t changed access to abortion in the state, and “anyone who tries to threaten or undermine the fundamental freedoms of women in Pennsylvania will have to d first go through the Attorney General’s office”. .”

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey issued a similar note of defiance and reassurance. Calling the decision “an assault on the civil and human rights of our entire country,” Gainey pledged “I will do whatever it takes to protect and defend this right in Pittsburgh and throughout our Commonwealth. people can make decisions about their bodies, their lives and their future.”

But as if to underscore the stakes in the decision for the future of abortion rights in Pennsylvania, Republican leaders in the State House released their own statement. He noted that the state’s abortion law was not immediately affected by the decision, but added, “This decision provides a much-needed opportunity to review our existing abortion law, and discussions about possible changes are already underway”.

While the court’s decision calls for the matter to be decided at the state level, federal office holders also weighed in.

Outgoing Governor Tom Wolf, who once served as an escort outside abortion clinics, tweeted that it was “a dark day for reproductive rights in America. But I want every Pennsylvanian to know that the services of abortion are available and free by today’s decision. To women and pregnant women in neighboring states and across the country where this is not the case: you are safe here.”

There are expectations that abortion providers in Pittsburgh and the rest of the state may see more patients from outlying states with stricter laws against abortion, but Wolf noted that access to abortion in Pennsylvania is also under threat.

“We are approaching a critical election cycle,” he noted. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to vote.”

In a statement, outgoing U.S. Senator Pat Toomey hailed the decision, saying it “restores the ability of the American people to determine abortion laws through their elected representatives… This decision is a victory. for the unborn child, the Constitution and democratic governance”.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democrat who hopes to replace Toomey next year, said, “If there was any doubt about the stakes in this race, it became crystal clear today. Abortion rights will be on the ballot this November in Pennsylvania.”

That’s obviously true in the gubernatorial race, rather than the U.S. Senate, but Fetterman pledged to support legislation that would codify abortion rights nationally — and to overturn the Senate filibuster if necessary.

Fetterman’s opponent last November, Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, released a statement several hours after the ruling was delivered. He acknowledged that the decision “is considered by many to be controversial. I respect those who have a different point of view, but as a cardiac surgeon, I have held the smallest of human hearts in the palm of my hand and I I will uphold the sanctity of life. I am relieved that protecting the lives of America’s unborn children is once again decided by the people through their elected representatives.”

Senator Bob Casey, who has long identified himself as pro-life but has become a closer ally on reproductive health issues over the years, said the decision “overturns nearly half a century of legal precedent” — including a court ruling that bears the name of her father, the former governor of Pennsylvania.

“This dangerous decision will not end abortions in this country, but it will put women’s lives at risk,” he said. Warning that the decision could allow Republicans in Congress to pass a nationwide ban, he added: “Our daughters and granddaughters should not grow up with less rights than their mothers.”

The ruling also appears likely to play a role in U.S. House races, including in the hotly contested 17th congressional district outside of Pittsburgh. Democrat Chris Deluzio called the decision “a threat to the basic human right to self-reliance” in a social media post. His Republican rival, Jeremy Shaffer, did not give an answer on Friday morning, but he has said in the past that while he favors a Roe rollback, decisions about abortion should be made at the level of the state – or through a constitutional amendment to ban the practice.


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