ICYMI: PennLive: With Kavanaugh vote looming, here’s why the fight over abortion matters in the #PaGovRace

* Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, the incumbent, says he’d veto any bill restricting a woman’s right to choose. Wolf has previously vetoed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and that banned a common, second-trimester procedure.

* Republican Scott Wagner who has said that “whatever happens, happens,” with a newly conservative court, said he’d have to wait and see what action it took on Roe. Nonetheless, Wagner has described himself as “100 percent pro-life,” and has supported legislation that would ban abortions at as early as six weeks – which is before most women even know they’re pregnant.

* In a conversation with the PennLive/Patriot-News Editorial Board this week, Wagner underlined his opposition to abortion, but twice declined to answer when he was asked whether he’d sign a ban-bill that did not provide exceptions for rape, incest, extreme fetal abnormality, or the health of the mother.


Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

As we’ve noted a couple of times before, the 2018 race for Pennsylvania governor is kind of a big deal. And one of the ways it’s a big deal has a lot to do with the United States Supreme Court.

With federal appellate Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s high court nomination seemingly steaming toward a confirmation vote this weekend, the nation’s highest court is set to become even more conservative than it already is.

And that has women’s health advocates worried that a newly conservative high court could someday overturn Roe v. Wade, returning the debate over abortion to the states.

Kavanaugh has described Roe as “settled law,” but as one observer points out, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t move to gut it if given the opportunity.

As a result, those same advocates are looking to friendly governors and legislatures to protect access to abortion. In Pennsylvania, the choices could not be more black and white.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, the incumbent, says he’d veto any bill restricting a woman’s right to choose. Wolf has previously vetoed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and that banned a common, second-trimester procedure.

Women’s health advocates are backing candidates, like Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who they think will protect access to abortion.

Republican Scott Wagner who has said that “whatever happens, happens,” with a newly conservative court, said he’d have to wait and see what action it took on Roe.

Nonetheless, Wagner has described himself as “100 percent pro-life,” and has supported legislation that would ban abortions at as early as six weeks – which is before most women even know they’re pregnant.

In a conversation with the PennLive/Patriot-News Editorial Board this week, Wagner underlined his opposition to abortion, but twice declined to answer when he was asked whether he’d sign a ban-bill that did not provide exceptions for rape, incest, extreme fetal abnormality, or the health of the mother.

“I am 100 percent pro-life. And I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record,” Wagner told the board. “When that happens, and it comes to … I will use legal counsel and advisers to walk me through that process. We’re not there, so I’m not going to sit here and make speculation on what’s going to happen in the Supreme Court.”

Wagner, who supports defunding Planned Parenthood and rolling back the Medicaid expansion, put it back on private donors to step in to pay for services for thousands of low-income women who access healthcare through the women’s health organization.

A Planned Parenthood health clinic operates in Wagner’s York County backyard. Other family planning providers have said they would not be able to handle the overflow if that health center closed.

“In that position there are private donors … and there are entities that operate solely on private-sector funds, not on government funds,” he said. “A lot of people in Pennsylvania have made it clear, they do not want taxpayer funds used to fund Planned Parenthood. So, there are a lot of wealthy donors out there who donate to those causes.”

But according to one advocate, it’s not that easy. And it’s unlikely that private donors would be able to fill the gap.

In a statement, Sari Stevens, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates, the group’s political wing, called Wagner “a danger to Pennsylvania’s women and families,” who’d leave “90,000 Pennsylvanians without the healthcare they need.”

And that’s why, according to Sue Frietsche, an attorney with the Women’s Law Project, the choices could not be more clear.

“There’s a message that’s sent when the government tells you that you don’t have the power to make decisions about your own body,” she said in an interview earlier this year.

 

Read the full piece here.

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