Harrisburg, Pa. ( Associated Press) — All four leading Republicans in the race for Pennsylvania’s governor have vowed to ban abortion if given a chance.
In Georgia, a top Republican candidate for governor wants to outlaw all abortions. The current Republican governor has support from the anti-abortion lobby, but declined to explain his position. And in Michigan, all but one in five leading Republicans running for governor oppose abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
The fight for Congress often dominates midterm elections, but this week’s revelation that the Supreme Court may soon be in its historic Roe v. Wade’s decision, has pushed candidates for governor — and their position on abortion — at the forefront of the 2022 campaign. Some states, including Pennsylvania and Georgia, have primary elections this month, but the final battle won’t be decided until November’s general election.
In a handful of battleground states with Republican-controlled state legislatures, every GOP candidate for governor supports severe abortion restrictions, if not outright bans, with no exceptions. It’s prompting warnings from Democrats that women’s access to abortion in some states may depend almost entirely on which party wins the governor’s race this fall.
“This is an issue that is now at the fore and center of this governor’s race,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “The fight will be in the states.”
Thirteen dark red states have so-called “trigger laws” that would ban abortion almost immediately if the row is reversed, but the future of abortion is less certain in several other liberal states with Republican-controlled legislatures: Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan. , Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin, among them.
In nearly every case, GOP legislatures have already approved restrictive abortion laws, including so-called “heartbeat” bills that would prevent abortions before most women become pregnant. Some laws are bound in the courts, while others have yet to move through Republican legislatures. But if Roe falls, such legislation – or more restrictive sanctions – can only be stopped by a veto from a Democratic governor or a Democrat-backed court challenge, if at all.
Some states, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Texas, have decades-old abortion bans before the row that will likely take effect almost immediately after a formal Supreme Court overturn of the case. But even in those states, Democratic governors will have the opportunity to fight the change in their state courts.
That’s what Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan is doing as she prepares for a challenging re-election this fall.
Anticipating that Roe would be overturned or undermined, Whitmer last month asked the Michigan Supreme Court to declare a state constitutional right to abortion and to lift the near-total abortion ban, which Roe rejected. Are being given. The law, which dates back to the 1800s, has an exception when a woman’s life is at risk, but not for rape and incest cases.
“I am using every tool at my disposal. I am going to fight like hell to defend this right for women in the state of Michigan,” Whitmer said this week. “No matter what happens with SCOTUS, We have an opportunity in Michigan.”
The situation is different in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where there is no outright ban on the books, but Republican candidates for governor have indicated they would support a complete ban if given the chance. Most have declined to clarify their position in recent days when asked directly by the Associated Press.
Pennsylvania law currently allows abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. But all four major Republican candidates for governor told the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania in questionnaire responses that they support “legal protection for all pre-born children from abortion” — in other words, any Banning abortion of diagnosed pregnancies, according to the organization’s president, Mike McMonagle.
Bill McSwan and Lou Barletta, two Republicans from Pennsylvania, said they support exceptions for rape, incest, or to protect a mother’s life. The other two, Doug Mastriano and Dave White, said they do not support any exceptions.
Only White agreed to discuss his position in an Associated Press interview this week. Others declined interview requests and did not respond to specific written questions.
White said if given the opportunity he would sign a law banning all abortions without exception to rape, incest or the life of the mother. He said he is the ninth of 14 children in a Catholic family in which his parents taught him “the blessings of every child that comes into this world”.
In a televised debate last week, Maastriano said he supports a ban on abortion from pregnancies, without exception. He called abortion the “No. 1 issue” and pointed to the “heartbeat” bill he sponsored, which effectively bans abortions at six weeks.
Anticipating that Maastriano may emerge from the GOP’s May 17 primary, Shapiro this week began running assault ads against the Republican state senator, highlighting his plan to “illegalize abortion.” Is.
“They are wildly out of touch with where Pennsylvanians are,” Shaprio said in an interview with his Republican challengers. “The issue boils down to whether we are going to create a Pennsylvania where freedom is respected.”
Polling shows relatively few Americans want to see Roe turn.
In 2020, Associated Press VoteCast found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave the Roe v. Wade ruling as is; Only 29 per cent said that the court should overturn the decision. In general, Associated Press-NORC polling finds that the majority of the public is in favor of legalizing abortion in most or all cases.
In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams will face the winner of the state’s May 24 GOP primary, which pits Republican Gov. Brian Kemp against Donald Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue.
Kemp has declined to clarify his position on abortion in recent days. His office ignored direct questions asking whether he would support a full abortion ban. An anti-abortion group that has backed Kemp rallied Friday to celebrate a possible row reversal. Speakers vowed to defend Georgia’s ban on abortion after fetal heart activity was detected. Now tied up in the courts, it could take effect with the Supreme Court’s decision.
Perdue wants Kemp to call for a special legislative session to approve the abortion ban if the Supreme Court officially overturns Roe, a decision expected in late June or early July.
“Georgia voters deserve to know where their governor stands on this issue,” Perdue said on Thursday. “You’re either going to fight for the sanctity of life or you’re not.”
On the Democratic side, Abrams described herself as a defender of abortion rights in a speech this week at Emily’s List, a political action committee that donates to Democratic female candidates supporting abortion rights.
According to a recording provided by his campaign, Abrams said, “The disgust of that leaked opinion is getting to each and every one of us, and we have to be prepared to fight back.” “It is about our dignity and our freedom. It is about our health and our well being. It’s about our future and our lives, and we have a right to be angry.”
The issue could help Abrams — and Democrats in other states — win more votes among college-educated white voters, who have been the most frequent swing voters in recent years.
Like a growing number of Democratic candidates elsewhere, Abrams also warned that a Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that banned contraception, and Brown v. Board of Education, 1954 decision outlawing racial segregation in schools.
“It’s a question of whether equality in the US depends on geography and zip codes and DNA,” Abrams said.
People reported from New York. Amy reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writers David Eggert and Mike Householder in Lansing, Michigan, contributed.