Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor, has promised to protect access to abortion. — AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively struck down Roe v. Wade and eliminated federal protections for abortion care.

Thirteen states across the country have “trigger laws” in place, that is, laws that will severely limit or prohibit access to abortion care that are set to take effect within 30 days of the Supreme Court decision. Pennsylvania is not among them, so pregnant Pennsylvanians still have access to abortion care. For now.

We need to vote in the gubernatorial election in November if we want to protect access to abortion care in Pennsylvania for at least a few more years.

Republicans have controlled the state Senate since 1994, and the state House of Representatives since 2011. In the last few years, various Republican members of the state Legislature have been making a concerted effort to limit or prohibit access to abortion care in the commonwealth. They have proposed bills that would strip funding from clinics that provide abortion care. They have proposed bills that would prohibit physicians from performing abortions if they detect a fetal heartbeat (such a heartbeat is often detectable before a person even knows they’re pregnant) or if the pregnant person dislikes the gender of the fetus or the fetus has received a Down syndrome diagnosis (which starts a slippery slope of proof of reasoning). And most recently, they have proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would say “there is no right to an abortion or abortion funding” guaranteed in the state constitution.

They have continued to push these bills even though polls show that 61% of Americans — including 85% of Pennsylvanians — say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

The governor has been the last line of defense against Republicans’ antiabortion legislation.

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed every bill the Legislature approved that even hinted at limiting access to abortion care in the commonwealth, and he has committed to continuing to veto such legislation for as long as he’s in office. But his term ends this year.

In November, Pennsylvanians will elect a new governor.

Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro has promised to pick up where Wolf leaves off and “protect the reproductive freedoms of every Pennsylvanian.” He has committed to vetoing any legislation that would limit access to abortion care in the commonwealth.

Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, on the other hand, has promised to ban all abortions in Pennsylvania, without exceptions for rape, incest or preserving the life of the pregnant person.

So there’s only one choice if we want to keep abortion care legal and accessible.

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