Having no protection under the commonwealth’s constitution, reproductive rights and health care in Pennsylvania are hanging by a thread and depend on the results of the 2022 general election on November 8th.
With open seats for governor, US senator, and state legislators on the line, each candidate has voiced their fervent support for or opposition to Pennsylvania’s abortion rights.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro has pledged to veto any bill restricting abortion rights brought to his desk. Since 2017, Shapiro has served as Pennsylvania’s attorney general, butting heads with the Trump administration in federal court to protect access to contraception and supporting the U.S. Department of Justice’s challenge to Texas’ six-week abortion ban. As governor, Shapiro will also seek “to expand access to reproductive care,” according to his campaign’s website.
His opponent, Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, does not share Shapiro’s support. Mastriano is instead in favor of a Texas-style abortion ban and has promised to use “a series of executive orders” to restrict abortion access statewide “on day one,” according to a quote from a Southern York Meet and Greet on May 3rd.
Mastriano has also touted Trump’s election fraud conspiracies and talked about his views with Steve Bannon on the former-Trump advisor’s show. As governor, he would have the authority to appoint a secretary of state, who oversees how elections are run, fundamentally altering the democratic process in a battleground state.
With a US Senate seat up for grabs and the primaries having decided the nominees, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (R ) will be competing for the position in the general election.
Democratic candidate John Fetterman vowed to protect reproductive freedom in Pennsylvania, describing it as “one of those non-negotiable things” and “a fundamental right that cannot change and must endure in this country.”
On his campaign website, Fetterman is quoted saying, “In Pennsylvania, we have been subjected to numerous attempts to curtail and eliminate women’s reproductive freedoms. A woman’s right to choose is sacred… and I’m proud to say that my governor and myself stood as that line of defense to make sure that women’s reproductive freedom is guarded and secure in Pennsylvania.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz, on the other hand, seeks to do the opposite. As the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s US Senate seat, Oz supports the Supreme Court’s decision to end Roe v. Wade and is against federal legislation to protect abortion rights nationwide. On WHP-AM radio, Oz applauded the Women’s Health Protection Act dying in the Senate, stating, “I’m glad to see the Senate defeat this legislation.”
Our reproductive rights are under attack and we need champions at all levels of government to fight back,” says Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes. Lawson says Doug Mastriano “made it clear that they will actively work to roll back the clock on abortion rights,” and that Mehmet Oz is “no better.”