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PA Gubernatorial and Senate Candidates Weigh In on Leaked SCOTUS Opinion

Various Pennsylvania candidates for the U.S. Senate and governor responded to the pending Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade leaked to the press Monday evening.

Adding to the mix, President Joe Biden also weighed in Tuesday, calling the right to an abortion “fundamental.”

Pennsylvania voters face a stark choice between the positions of the Republican candidates and those of the Democrats. Not surprisingly, Republicans staked out pro-life stances, and Democrats argued for a woman’s right to choose. Indeed, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running for governor, has been airing ads touting his pledge to protect a woman’s right to an abortion. If elected, Shapiro promised to veto any anti-abortion bills that come to him from the legislature.

And if the leaked draft holds true, the states will have a larger role in determining abortion law. Here are comments from some of the Republicans who are running for governor:

“Once the repeal of Roe v. Wade is official, I am calling on the General Assembly to hold a vote on the Heartbeat Bill (that stops abortion once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected). The time is now for action to protect the rights of the unborn,” state Sen. Douglas Mastriano (R-Franklin) posted on Facebook.

Bill McSwain said via Twitter: “If true, this is, of course, the correct decision, both constitutionally and morally. But this leak is an outrageous attack on the court.”

Charlie Gerow told the Delaware Valley Journal, “I am praying that the leaked document is, in fact, the final decision of the court. It would allow the American people, through their elected representatives, to enact new laws protecting unborn children and honoring women. If Roe is overturned, our job will be to work with the legislature to build consensus and pass the strongest protections for unborn children and women.”

Lou Barletta said, “If this turns out to be accurate, it will be a long-awaited victory for unborn children. In the time since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, tens of millions of babies have been killed, and all through the decades, the pro-life movement has fought to get to this point. If this draft ruling is indicative of the final majority opinion, it will save untold millions of innocent lives in the future. As I have made clear, I will not prejudge or predict what kinds of legislation may come before me, but I will be a pro-life governor, and I will sign pro-life legislation.”

And Dave White mentioned his disabled son, saying, “If (the) report is accurate, it is both a moment of joy and simultaneously one of great sadness. With joy for the millions of innocent lives that will now be spared, but with sorrow for the tens of millions who were never given a chance to laugh or to love. The loss to our society and our humanity that 50 years of Roe has stained our nation with will never be erased, but … I am encouraged that the Supreme Court appears prepared to overturn the injustice that was perpetrated through the Roe v. Wade decision.”

“Every day, I see the grace of God through the eyes of my son, Brian,” he added. “For 33 years, Brian’s life has been our family’s greatest blessing, and it is Brian’s love that drives me to be a better husband, a better father, and a better governor for all Pennsylvanians.”

White said he would be the best candidate to defeat “unabashedly pro-abortion Shapiro.”

And Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale said, “In this era of fake news, I pray that the revelation of Roe v. Wade’s reversal is true. Abortion is an atrocity and a stain on our nation. The United States Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing the murder of the innocent unborn was not only unconstitutional but morally reprehensible. If and when Roe v. Wade is overturned and the issue of abortion is returned to the states, as the Republican governor of Pennsylvania I will fight to ensure every life in the womb is protected from the moment of conception.”

Sen. Pro Tempore Jake Corman said, “I am pro-life and have supported extending protections to the unborn since I first ran for office. While I will wait for the formal opinion rather than a leaked draft, you can rest assured that I will sign pro-life legislation that respects life and protects the innocent.  A Corman administration would move swiftly to work with the legislature to craft pro-life legislation that accomplishes these goals.”

Some Senate candidates also commented.

“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,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican.

Republican Dave McCormick called the leak, “What an earth-shattering breach of trust that is further evidence of an assault on our institutions.” If the high court overturns Roe v. Wade, he said, “This would be a huge step forward and a huge victory for the protection of life…This is an issue on the campaign trail. It’s already been a flashpoint,” adding that he is pro-life.

“If you’ve heard my story, you know how grateful I am for the decision my grandparents made to support my very young mother and allow me to live rather than be aborted,” said GOP candidate Kathy Barnette. “My life matters. All lives matter and I value all life, from conception until natural death,” Barnette said. “Every one of us was created with a purpose and I am greatly encouraged to see that our nation is prepared to engage in the long-overdue discussion about when life begins and when constitutional protections come full force.”

However, she decried the leak and said those responsible must be “held accountable.”

And Republican Jeff Bartos said in a tweet: “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 opportunity to follow the constitution and allow the states to protect the unborn.”

Former Ambassador Carla Sands said, “If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the American people and their elected representatives could then enact measures to uphold and protect the sanctity of all human life. This development underscores the need to elect a U.S. Senator who is truly and unequivocally pro-life. In the U.S. Senate, I would vote in favor of sensible legislation with the goal of saving unborn human lives.”

As for the Democrats running for Senate, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta tweeted, “Just last week I stood up in the face of fierce opposition and defended the need to expand the court and begin the hard process of rebuilding public trust in this critical institution.”

In a statement, Kenyatta added, “This is a sad day for our nation. Make no mistake, we arrived at this moment because Mitch McConnell shamelessly packed the Supreme Court with radical right-wing extremists. That is why, as your next senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I will fight to expand the Supreme Court to reflect the will of the people and to restore the balance of justice in America. And as we figure out how to navigate this painful moment I encourage everyone to be gentle with themselves. I know how deeply held the right to choose is for each of us, especially to the women leading my team. On the debate stage last week, I stood in the face of fierce opposition from my primary opponents on the matter of restoring balance to the Supreme Court and I will proudly do the same as your nominee and as your senator.”

John Fetterman said in two tweets: “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.” And, “We cannot afford to wait. Send me to Washington, and I’ll be that 51st vote to codify abortion rights into law.”

Also on Twitter, Congressman Conor Lamb said, “If Dems lose in PA, Congress may never save Roe. Poor women will suffer most. I voted to put Roe into law, I’m endorsed by @NationalNOW, & I’ve voted 100% pro-choice while winning in GOP districts. That’s my record. If I’m your nominee I’ll give you the campaign you deserve.”

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