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How Pennsylvania politicians are responding to the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade

  • By Patrick Doyle/ WESA
More than 30 people gathered outside of the state Capitol on May 3, 2022 to protest the leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would reverse Roe v. Wade.

 Jeremy Long / WITF

More than 30 people gathered outside of the state Capitol on May 3, 2022 to protest the leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would reverse Roe v. Wade.

Last night, Politico released a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade and would set the table for abortion rights to be restricted in many states.

Such a decision would raise the stakes for Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election in November. If a Republican is elected governor and the GOP maintains control of the state legislature, they would likely restrict abortion rights; a Democrat, meanwhile, would likely veto any such legislation.

The extremely rare leak of a draft opinion also drew questions about its source and motivation, as well as its potential impact on the final decision.

State legislative races could also be shaken up. Abortion could, for example, play a role in the Democratic primary for the 19th state House seat in Pittsburgh. Challenger Glenn Grayson says he would vote to ban abortion except in cases of rape or where parental health is at risk; incumbent Aerion Abney supports abortion rights.

(A handful of Democratic incumbent legislators — including Tony DeLuca, Anita Kulik, Rob Matzie and Brandon Markosek — have previously voted to restrict abortion rights. None face challengers.)

Here’s how Pennsylvania candidates for the governor, U.S. Senate and the U.S. House responded to the news:

Democratic candidates for Governor:

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said on Twitter:

“Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania under state law. It will remain legal, no matter what SCOTUS rules. The only way women lose their rights in PA is if our Republican Legislature passes an abortion ban and a Governor signs it. I’m going to fight like hell and veto that bill.”

Republican candidates for Governor:

Lou Barletta on Twitter:

“If this is true, it would be an enormous, life-saving victory for unborn children.”

State Sen. Doug Mastriano said in a statement:

“Although the decision will not be final until June and the leaking of this document is unprecedented, it is a good sign that the majority of the justices at this time are inclined to follow the science. January 22, 1973 was one of the darkest days in American history. On that day, seven justices of the Supreme Court ruled that the right to life could merely be reduced to a decision of convenience.”

Bill McSwain said on Twitter:

“If true, this is of course the correct decision, both constitutionally and morally. But this leak is an outrageous attack on the Court.”

Dave White said on Twitter:

“The loss to our society and our humanity that 50 years of Roe has stained our nation with will never be erased, but tonight I am encouraged that the Supreme Court appears prepared to overturn the injustice that was perpetrated through the Roe vs. Wade decision.”

Democratic candidates for Senate:

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said on Twitter:

“Let’s be clear: The right to an abortion is sacred. Democrats have to act quickly — get rid of the filibuster to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act + finally codify Roe into law. We cannot afford to wait.”

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said on Twitter:

“The Supreme Court won’t stop at destroying Roe. If they are willing to overturn this precedent, than [sic] any other can be next. Yes we need to end the Jim Crow filibuster and pass the WHPA. But we must to do more. We need to expand the Supreme Court which McConnell packed. “

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb said in a press release:
“The draft Supreme Court opinion, which restricts women’s access to safe, legal abortion services, is outrageous. I cosponsored and voted for H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House, and the Senate must pass this legislation immediately to preserve these rights.”

Republican candidates for Senate:

Kathy Barnette said on Twitter:

“I’m the byproduct of rape. My mother was eleven when I was conceived. In the world the Left desires, I would never have been born. We need leaders with a steady hand to direct our nation through these difficult discussions.”

Jeff Bartos said on Twitter:

“If this is authentic, the Supreme Court and the DOJ must investigate this leak immediately and hold the responsible person(s) accountable. Roe was wrongly-decided. The Court now has the opportuntiy [sic] to follow the Constitution and allow the states to protect the unborn.”

Mehmet Oz said on Twitter:

“The Court is right. Roe was wrongly decided. Abortion laws should be left up to the American people and their elected representatives. I look forward to supporting pro-life legislation that saves innocent lives in the U.S. Senate.”

Carla Sands said on Twitter:

“Pray for the end of Roe v Wade. This leak was intended to intimidate pro-life Justices. We must remain strong and always protect LIFE.”


Democratic candidates for 12th Congressional District:

Jerry Dickinson said in a statement:

“Justice Alito’s draft reasoning to overturn Roe v. Wade is an extraordinary assault on the Supreme Court’s tradition of respecting established precedent…If Roe is overturned, it will leave an indelible mark on the legitimacy of the Court as an American institution…Congress must act swiftly to pass legislation that will protect the right to abortion.”

Steve Irwin said in a statement:
“The U.S. Senate should immediately abandon the filibuster and pass by a majority vote legislation the House has already approved that would codify Roe v. Wade into law. The Supreme Court’s apparent action is a grave mistake for our country and darkens the future for millions of American women.”

State Rep. Summer Lee on Twitter:
“We’re about to lose our right to abortion care b/c of right-wing extremists appointed to lifetime seats. I’ve sat through hrs of @GOP hearings in the leg about the horrifying bans they want to pass when Roe falls. Congress must end the filibuster & protect our abortion rights.”

Democratic candidates for 17th Congressional District:

Chris Deluzio on Twitter:

“The Senate needs to wake up and act swiftly to codify Roe. And if they don’t, after I hold #PA17, you better believe that I’ll fight in Washington to protect abortion rights to get it done.”

Sean Meloy on Twitter:

“Reproductive rights are fundamental human rights. Government should not dictate what people can do with their own bodies. Overturning Roe will not only impact on abortion access but our fundamental right to privacy, disproportionately impacting marginalized communities.”

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