Governors

Midterms’ Biggest Abortion Battleground: Pennsylvania

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an analysis of the battleground state Pennsylvania, where the news that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and dismantle abortion rights has already impacted the race.

The Times spoke with Republican voters across the state who made it clear that the Republican gubernatorial field’s pledges to completely ban abortion in Pennsylvania were outrageous and would lead them to vote for Democrats in November.

The anger we’re seeing across the Commonwealth around the Republican Party’s obsession with banning abortion is consistent with pollingAbortion rights are extremely popular in Pennsylvania, like they are across the country, and support is only growing. Only 16 percent of Pennsylvanians think abortion should be banned in its entirety (which is what frontrunners Lou Barletta and Doug Mastriano support). That number is down six points from just a decade ago.

Public support is deeply on the side of the abortion rights movement, not radical Republican politicians like Mastriano and Barletta. 

New York Times: Midterms’ Biggest Abortion Battleground: Pennsylvania

By: Trip Gabriel | May 8, 2022

  • Jan Downey, who calls herself “a Catholic Republican,” is so unhappy about the Supreme Court’s likely reversal of abortion rights that she is leaning toward voting for a Democrat for Pennsylvania governor this year. “Absolutely,” she said. “On that issue alone.”
  • Pennsylvania, one of a handful of states where abortion access hangs in the balance with midterm elections this year, is a test case of the political power of the issue in a post-Roe world, offering a look at whether it will motivate party bases or can be a wedge for suburban independents.
  • In four states with politically divided governments and elections for governor this year — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kansas — the issue is expected to be a fulcrum of campaigns. In Michigan and Wisconsin, which have anti-abortion laws on the books predating Roe, Democratic governors and attorneys general have vowed to block their implementation. Kansas voters face a referendum in August on codifying that the state constitution does not protect abortion.
  • All four of the top Republicans heading into the primary on May 17 have said they favor strict abortion bans. Lou Barletta, a former congressman and one of two front-runners in the race, has said he would sign “any bill that comes to my desk that would protect the life of the unborn.”
  • Another top candidate, Doug Mastriano, said in a recent debate that he was opposed to any exceptions — for rape, incest or the health of the mother — in an abortion ban. Mr. Mastriano, a state senator, has introduced a bill in Harrisburg to ban abortions after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Another Republican bill would require death certificates and a burial or cremation after miscarriages or abortions.
  • Last month, 31 percent of registered voters said abortion should be legal in all circumstances, up from 18 percent in 2009. Those calling for abortion to be illegal in all circumstances declined to 16 percent, from 22 percent in 2009. A broad middle group, 53 percent, said abortion should be legal under “certain circumstances.”
  • A retired municipal employee, Mr. Savage said he was an independent voter but had primarily voted Republican most of his life. Come November, he would not support a candidate for governor who opposed abortion rights, he said. “My position is, I don’t have a vagina so I have no skin in the game.”
  • “What’s going to happen is, you’re going to lose a lot of Republican votes” over abortion, Mr. Milite predicted. “I think it’s going to hurt the Republican Party.”

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