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September 24, 2023 8:20 am

Local News

Attorney General Josh Shapiro Pledges to Protect State Abortion Access

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Anzhe Zhang

At a campaign rally in Philadephia last week, Attorney General Josh Shapiro reaffirmed his commitment towards protecting abortion rights and access in the state following news of the controversial leaked draft ruling on Roe v. Wade from the Supreme Court.

“They’re coming for all your rights, and I’ll be there to defend you every single step of the way,” declared Shapiro, who is running as the Democratic candidate in November’s gubernatorial race.

While an overturn of the nearly 50 year-old court decision wouldn’t spell the end of abortion access in Pennsylvania, a lack of federal protections and an eager, Republican-led General Assembly could mean impending obstacles and restrictions for residents.

Shapiro has had a track record of protecting abortion access, warning that anti-abortion bills are being introduced not only in states like Mississippi and Texas, but also in Pennsylvania too.

Last year, the attorney general filed briefs rejecting both Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks as well as a Texas law that would allow anyone aiding a woman seeking abortion to be sued.

In Pennsylvania, the Wolf Administration saw six anti-abortion bills introduced by the General Assembly from 2016 to 2021, with the governor having had to veto three that reached his desk.

Gov. Wolf has vowed to safeguard abortion access in the meantime against what he refers to as “right wing extremists” attempting to ban abortions “right here in Pennsylvania.”

It highlights a critical role that the governor’s office plays in ensuring abortion access in the state, having to deal with both an anti-abortion majority in the General Assembly as well as the potential recall of federal support in the coming months.

Outside of vetoing powers, expanded access and infrastructural improvements will be critical for providing care, especially as the state expects to receive more out-of-state visitors seeking abortions if Roe v. Wade is overtuned.

Lindsey Mauldin, part of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, noted that Roe v. Wade never meant perfect access for everyone in the state, with fake health clinics, race, and income serving as just a few of the obstacles preventing women from getting abortions.