It was a familiar refrain during the presidency of Donald Trump – his actions may not have been surprising, but they were still shocking.
For those of us aware of the leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the Court’s official decision to overturn the 1973 ruling and nearly 50 years of legal precedent in this country was no less shocking for being unsurprising.
The Court’s decision was devastating, and its catastrophic consequences for the health, well-being, and basic human rights of women, girls, and all pregnant people have only become more apparent over the past few months. Beyond what we already knew about the consequences of restricting access to abortion – that women are poorer and sicker and more likely to die, and that the most vulnerable in this country bear the brunt of these impacts – we have seen horrific stories like that of the 10-year-old girl in Ohio; a survivor of rape forced to travel to Indiana because she could not secure an abortion in her home state. And now, Indiana itself has passed legislation to ban abortion.
Here in Pennsylvania, reproductive rights are on the ballot in November. There could not be a starker contrast between the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor, and crucially, the winner will have the power to sign or veto laws determining abortion access across the Commonwealth. Republican Doug Mastriano has sponsored a six-week abortion ban and called the notion of “my body, my choice” “ridiculous nonsense.” Democrat Josh Shapiro has rightly noted that abortion access is health care and has vowed to oppose any attempt to further restrict abortion in Pennsylvania.
The Senate race between John Fetterman and New Jerseyan Mehmet Oz is similarly crucial, with control of the upper chamber hanging in the balance. Oz has repeatedly trumpeted his pro-life stance since entering the race, while Fetterman has argued against restrictions to abortion rights. Fetterman has stated that he would support ending the filibuster in order to codify a national right to abortion.
On November 8, 2022, we will also have the opportunity to re-elect our fantastic, tireless Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (PA’s 6th Congressional District) and Christina Sappey (PA State Rep 158th District that includes West Bradford) and elect Chris Pielli (to the PA State Rep 156th District that includes East Bradford); all will continue to champion reproductive rights and abortion access in both Washington and Harrisburg.