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Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court toppled Roe v. Wade, a new digital advertising campaign launching in Pennsylvania today warns Keystone State voters to be on guard against Republican-backed efforts to pass a national ban on the procedure.
“Republicans aren’t stopping at overturning Roe,” the 30-second spot paid for by the Democratic National Committee warns, after the voices and images of such senior Republicans as former Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, play throughout.
“They want to go further and ban abortion,” the ad, which will run for a week on Facebook and YouTube, concludes. “Believe them.”
Some Republicans in the U.S. House already have started pushing for a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks — which was the threshold imposed by the Mississippi law the high court upheld last week, according to CNN.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is reportedly planning to lower his proposed 20-week abortion ban to 15 weeks in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, according to CNN. Smith’s proposal has the backing of McCarthy, along with other prominent House Republicans, CNN reported.
Even so, the proposal is unlikely to go anywhere in the U.S. House, which currently is controlled by Democrats, nor in the narrowly divided U.S. Senate, where it would have to gain 60 votes to overcome the filibuster.
But with both sides chambers on the line this fall, and the White House up for grabs in 2024, Republicans are playing a longer game.
That’s added even greater urgency to the Keystone State’s nationally watched U.S. Senate campaign, pitting Republican celebrity physician Mehmet Oz against Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
The winner of the seat now held by retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, of Lehigh County, will help determine the balance of power in the 100-member upper chamber.
On Monday, the Biden administration warned of “ultra-MAGA” policies, including a nationwide abortion ban if Republicans take back the House and Senate this fall, Fox News reported.
“Already Vice President Pence and GOP Leader McCarthy have announced their support for a nationwide ban on abortion, passed by Congress,” administration Gender Policy Council Director Jen Klein said, according to Fox News.
“No woman in any state – no matter how pro-choice that state is – would have the right to choose,” Klein said, according to Fox News, adding that “abortion would be illegal everywhere.”
There is equal urgency on the state level as well.
Thirteen states already had so-called “trigger laws” in place to ban abortion if the Supreme Court moved as it did to return regulation of abortion to state governments, the Capital-Star previously reported.
Pennsylvania has no such provision, but proposals to restrict abortion access have circulated in the Republican-controlled Legislature for years, the Capital-Star has previously reported.
For the last seven years, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, a former Planned Parenthood volunteer, has vetoed every GOP-penned abortion bill that’s landed on his desk.
Wolf, however, is leaving office in January 2023 after serving the constitutional maximum of two, four-year terms. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democrats’ gubernatorial nominee, has vowed to oppose any attempt to restrict abortion access
Shapiro faces state Sen. Doug Mastriano, of Franklin County, the GOP’s standard-bearer, who opposes abortion, and has said he would support exception-free bans on the procedure if elected.
“Now that Republicans have succeeded in their decades-long war to overturn Roe v. Wade, they’re telling voters what they have planned next: banning abortion across the country,” DNC States Communications Director Brooke Goren said in an email obtained by the Capital-Star.
“Republicans in Pennsylvania and across the country are signaling that bans with no exceptions for rape or incest are next on their extreme agenda,” Goren continued. “Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and Mike Pence are making it crystal clear how dangerous Republican control would be for millions of Americans – including Pennsylvanians.”
Abortion rights advocates already were sounding the alarm before the high court’s ruling. Those warnings only intensified after the justices made their ruling.
“Roe vs Wade was a landmark decision in abortion rights and access to medical care,” Signe Espinoza, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, said in a statement.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling “threatens those most basic freedoms, invades our privacy, and questions our autonomy,” Espinoza continued, adding that her organization will “continue its advocacy to make abortion accessible to every Pennsylvanian who needs one.
“The right to an abortion is meaningless unless it is possible to get one and for those enrolled in Medicaid, coverage for abortion is denied,” Espinoza concluded. “We expect the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to hear a case this fall challenging that coverage ban. We’ve come too far to go back to pre-1973 unsafe health care, and we must continue the charge forward, not only for legality but for accessibility.”
Lawmakers have until midnight on Thursday to pass a spending plan that allocates billions of dollars to fund education, economic growth, community development, and human services. Marley Parish and Peter Hall run down what’s known — and unknown — about the current state of negotiations.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra pledged Tuesday to work to preserve abortion access in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “despicable” decision overturning Roe v. Wade — though the department’s specific actions will depend on how states seeking to limit abortion access proceed. Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jacob Fischler has the details.
Federal lawmakers are looking to crack down on ‘dark patterns’ that trick users online, Capital-Star Washington Correspondent Allison Winter reports.
Following a string of mass shootings that have shaken the nation this year, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey is urging state lawmakers to take action on gun reform. Our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper have the story.
For the second consecutive year, the Community College of Philadelphia is paying off students’ unpaid balances, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.
On our Commentary Page this morning: Today’s partisans in the MAGA movement are little more than actors in an updated Greek tragedy directed by an unqualified, power hungry, dissembling, narcissistic, demagogic, would-be despot, opinion regular Lloyd E. Sheaffer writes. With the budget clock ticking down, lawmakers have a choice to help working Pennsylvanians, Nick Pressley and Marc Stier, of the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center, write. And fair funding for Pa. schools also means fair funding for special education, Nasharie Stewart, a summer intern at the Education Law Center, writes.
With the fall of Roe v. Wade, online data could be used to target people seeking abortions, the Inquirer reports.
The Post-Gazette also updates on the latest on talks on the state budget, which is due by midnight on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, participated in talks about former President Donald Trump going to the Capitol on Jan. 6, a former White House aide told a congressional panel on Tuesday. PennLive has the story.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District, is staying silent on allegations that his congressional colleagues sought pardons after Jan. 6, LancasterOnline reports.
Talking Points Memo runs down the ‘craziest’ moments of former Trump White House aide Casey Hutchinson’s appearance before the Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday.
The state House has passed a ban on the sale of the herbal stimulant kratom to minors — adult sales remain legal, the Morning Call reports.
Luzerne County has hired a firm to administer proposals to spend the county’s federal American Rescue Plan money, the Citizens’ Voice reports.
Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym says the city’s parking authority isn’t meeting its obligations to help pay for public schools, WHYY-FM reports.
A local fight over 2020 elections records has landed in state court, the Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).
Dominick’s Diner, a fixture in downtown Erie for more than six decades, is for sale, GoErie reports.
The Cook Political Report has moved the race for western Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from ‘solid Democrat’ to ‘likely Democrat,’ PoliticsPa reports.
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What Goes On
The House and Senate both come in at 11 a.m. today.
Call of the Chair: House Appropriations Committee
As budget talks continue, Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.
Here’s a bit of slashing guitar pop from Australia’s Ball Park Music that comfortingly sounds like any of your fave indie bands of the last 10 or 15 years. The song is ‘Manny.’
Wednesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link
The Baltimore Orioles dropped a 2-0 decision to the Seattle Mariners in a late game on Tuesday.
And now you’re up to date.
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