Since winning the Republican primary, Mastriano has been silent on abortion. Doctors urge him to break it

know about Since winning the Republican primary, Mastriano has been silent on abortion. Doctors urge him to break it

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Reproductive Health Decisions: How, When, and Why Someone Gets an Abortion. could come down to the results of the November general election in Pennsylvania, prompting advocates to demand clarity from the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

As Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, also a former Planned Parenthood volunteer, prepares to leave office in January 2023, reproductive health advocates and medical providers have stepped up efforts to promote abortion access in the wake of the decision. the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

As part of a virtual event hosted by the Committee to Protect Health Care, a national advocacy organization, on Monday, three Pennsylvania doctors urged Sen. Doug Mastriano for transparency in outlining reproductive health-related policies he would support. if he were elected governor.

Dr. Meaghan Reid, an emergency room physician in Chester County and co-state leader of the Committee to Protect Health Care, said Mastriano treats abortion “as a political football rather than an essential component of the medical care”.

“Instead of using abortion as a throwaway line, doctors and our patients need him to be clear about where he stands on abortion and not be scared off by the fact that he has repeatedly called for abortion to be banned without exceptions.” Reid said.

Mastriano, a vocal opponent of abortion access, once called abortion his number one issue, presenting a proposal ban abortions after six weeks, which is before most people know they’re pregnant. He also promised to act “quickly and swiftly” to ban, without exception, abortion once fetal heart activity is detected.

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during a april debateMastriano called legal abortion “a national catastrophe” and vowed to push through his six-week abortion ban if elected governor. He has also expressed support for punishing doctors who perform the procedure.

“It will be a crime as governor,” he said during the televised forum.

But since winning the Republican nomination for governor in May, Mastriano, who has not responded to repeated requests for comment, has remained silent about his views on abortion.

That silence could mislead voters, Max Cooper, an ER doctor in southeastern Pennsylvania and co-state leader of the Committee to Protect Health Care, told reporters Monday.

“And the last thing a candidate for Pennsylvania’s highest office should do is withhold information that voters need to make informed decisions,” he said.

After the Supreme Court’s June ruling, Mastriano said: “Roe v. Wade is rightly relegated to the ash heap of history. He added that while her annulment is a “triumph for innocent life,” it should not distract from key issues.

“While struggling with all-time record inflation, people are concerned about the price of gas and groceries, as well as out-of-control crime and high-paying jobs, which is exactly why I will prioritize these as governor,” he said in a written statement.

Muhlenberg College political science professor Christopher Borick said Mastriano’s decision to play down abortion in his campaign minimizes the risk that his extreme position could alienate some Republican voters.

“His position, at least among Republicans, may not cost him a ton of votes. Also, you can’t afford to lose much,” Borick said. “It’s an issue that will challenge you until Election Day.”

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, by contrast, has made it clear that reproductive rights in Pennsylvania will not change with him as governor.

“His position is clear and he’s happy to have this front and center in the race,” Borick said. “It is more complex, certainly, for Mastriano.”

the Abortion Control Law legalizes the procedure up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in Pennsylvania, unless requested based on the sex of the fetus. Later exceptions may be made for extraordinary circumstances, including when the health of the person giving birth is at risk.

Legislative proposals to restrict access to reproductive health care have circulated in Harrisburg for years. With a Republican-controlled General Assembly, a Democrat as governor has been the only barrier between tighter restrictions or a ban on abortion.

Pennsylvania has collected data on induced abortions since 1975, a requirement of state law. According to 2020 data, the latest available, of the 32,123 abortions performed that year, the majority (21,934) occurred eight weeks or less into pregnancy. None occurred at 24 or more weeks.

Debra Mollen, professor of psychology at Texas Women’s Universityhe told the Capital-Star earlier this month that elected and appointed government officials have used misinformation about reproductive health and the fight for abortion access to promote restrictions on the procedure.

He cited research done at the University of California, San Francisco: The Turnaway study — which included 1,000 women from clinics in 21 states. For more than 10 years, researchers tracked the experiences of those who had or were denied abortions due to clinical policies on gestational limits.

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Outcomes were far worse for those forced to have children, according to the study: People denied an abortion were found to be more likely to experience late-pregnancy complications, including eclampsia, a high blood pressure disorder linked to pregnancy and death. The research also found that they are more likely to stay with an abusive partner, suffer from anxiety, lose self-esteem and have poor physical health. They are also more likely to raise the child alone.

Addressing abortions later in pregnancy, Mollen said the procedures are “relatively rare.”

“The more restrictions we have, the more common it becomes. People have less access, so they are pushed further into their pregnancy when they can, if they can access abortion at all,” she said. “And of course now there are going to be thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of people who can get pregnant who won’t have access at all.”