Pennsylvania GOP candidate for governor scrubs abortion opposition from campaign website

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Abortion is no longer listed among the issues on the campaign site of Pennsylvania Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

The front-runner for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor has scrubbed his anti-abortion position from his campaign website.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano had listed "protecting life" first among his gubernatorial campaign's issues. Clicking a link brought you to a page on his state Senate campaign page that described abortion as "unimaginable brutality."

"A government that not only endorses and embraces this genocide, but funds it with tax payer dollars is criminal," the site said. "Doug believes every life is precious and must be protected."

However, the current version of the campaign website makes no mention of "protecting life," and Mastriano's "plan" does not include banning abortion.

Mastriano, however, has made his feelings on abortion public.

At a GOP primary debate on April 27, Mastriano said that as governor he would ban abortion in every single instance — even if the life of the pregnant person was at risk.

"We're going to move with alacrity, with speed on the heartbeat bill," Mastriano said, referring to legislation that bans abortion as soon as electrical activity emanating from an embryo can be picked up on an ultrasound machine, usually around six weeks' gestation, before many people even know they are pregnant.

Mastriano added that he doesn't want to "give a way for exceptions either."

That means that abortions would be banned in instances of rape and incest and even if the life of the pregnant person was at risk. Pregnancy can be a life-threatening condition for a number of reasons, including ectopic pregnancies, in which an embryo implants outside of the uterus, or molar pregnancies, in which an egg or an embryo develops into a benign or cancerous tumor.

With the conservative majority in the U.S. Supreme Court apparently poised to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent that enshrined the right to an abortion until fetal viability, usually around 24 weeks' gestation, Republicans in state legislatures could be in a position to pass the kind of far-reaching abortion bans Mastriano supports.

In fact, the gerrymandered GOP majorities in the Pennsylvania legislature have tried to pass abortion bans over the last eight years, but Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has been able to block them with a veto.

Wolf is now term-limited, and current state Attorney General Josh Shapiro is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination to replace him.

Mastriano is the front-runner for the GOP nomination, with polls showing him in the lead ahead of the May 17 primary.

The other GOP candidates running for governor said they would also ban abortion if elected.

Former Rep. Lou Barletta and businessman Bill McSwain both said they want to ban abortion in the state, but said they support exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the pregnant person.

A fourth candidate, Dave White, said he wants to ban all abortions.

"I would not have any exceptions. I would certainly work down to no exceptions at all," White said at the primary debate.

Shapiro's campaign is already highlighting the risk that abortion rights will be lost in the state if Republicans win in November.

"Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania under state law. It will remain legal, no matter what SCOTUS rules. The only way women lose their rights in PA is if our Republican Legislature passes an abortion ban and a Governor signs it. I'm going to fight like hell, and veto that bill," Shapiro tweeted Tuesday morning, the day after a leaked draft of a potential Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that would overturn Roe v. Wade was published by Politico.

Inside Elections rates the governor's race "Tilts Democratic."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.