Pa. lawmaker who offered Islamophobic prayer is sponsoring a ‘Heartbeat’ abortion ban, too | Thursday Morning Coffee

March 28, 2019 7:08 am

Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton, delivers a prayer on the floor of the Pa. state House on 3/25/2019 (Screen Capture).

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Well, credit freshman state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz for this one thing: The Clinton County Republican has certainly mastered the art of going big or going home.

Given the opportunity to offer the opening invocation at the start Monday’s voting session in the state House, Borowicz dispensed with a blandly inoffensive kumbaya, and went all in, offering an explicitly religious and political prayer that threw shout-outs to President Donald Trump and Israel on the same day that the House was due to swear-in the first-ever Muslim woman to serve in its ranks.

The prayer, along with a claim by Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell’s, D-Philadelphia (the Muslim woman in question) that it was an instance of blatant “Islamophobia,” sparked a social media and political firestorm that gained national media attention.

But Borowicz didn’t stop there.

Unlike some of her House colleagues who have already introduced a blizzard of bills during this still-young 2019-2020 session, Borowicz is pinning her hopes on just one, and it’s the most radioactive legislation you can imagine.

She’s sponsoring a so-called “Heartbeat” abortion ban bill, that could outlaw the procedure at as early as six weeks — which is before most women even know they’re pregnant.

In a Feb. 7 memo seeking co-sponsors for her bill, Borowicz, who unreservedly opposes abortion rights, said her bill “will be another great rallying cry for us to save babies around this state and possibly around the nation.”

In her memo, Borowicz also wrote that: “States all over the country are looking at abortion. The Pennsylvania Legislature has previously considered changing the limit on abortion to 20 weeks. While this is a significant move in the right direction, the fact is that even at 20 weeks abortion stops a baby’s beating heart. My legislation, like that which has been introduced in Congress, a beating heart will stop abortion.”

She added that her bill, “will require all physicians, before proceeding with an abortion, to determine whether the baby has a heartbeat. If the baby has a heartbeat, then the abortion cannot be performed. This will eliminate the need to [include] a gestational age in legislation, and will honor the science which shows that more than 90 percent of all pregnancies are viable in which a heartbeat is detected.”

If this bill sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

Last May, just in time for primary seasonex-state Rep. Rick Sacconewho’s now Twitter’s Angry Uncle, sponsored a similar bill, only to see it go exactly nowhere in the face of a guaranteed veto from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

In 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a similar bill after women placed hangers outside the statehouse in Ohio as a vivid reminder of what happens when abortion is criminalized, activists at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia told PennLive last year.

If there’s any consolation here, it’s that Borowicz has yet to formally introduce her bill, which actually means she’s sponsoring *zero* pieces of legislation this session. She’s signed on as a co-sponsor to three, other bills, according to the House website.

They include bills aimed at fighting human trafficking and another fighting Lyme Disease, as well as a constitutional amendment on term limits.

Okay … so that mitigates some.

Borowicz is also backing three, non-binding resolutions, including one that “would reaffirm the support of the House of Representatives for Israel — our only democratic ally in the Middle East.”

Because if there’s one thing the Israelis are lying awake wondering about, it’s whether the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, has their back.

We’ll give Grove points for the fact that his resolution is intended as a statement against anti-Semitism.
At least his proposal actually exists. So there’s that.

Our Stuff.
There’s a new Franklin & Marshall College poll out this Thursday morning. And The Capital-Star has team coverage.
Stephen Caruso breaks down Gov. Tom Wolf’s approval ratings (good) and President Donald Trump’s (Meh).
Elizabeth Hardison takes a look at voter support for gun-control and the nuclear industry.
And Sarah Anne Hughes cracks the hood on support for recreational cannabis legalization and a higher minimum wage.

On the Opinion side of the house, Elizabethtown College political science professor Fletcher McClellan post-games the Mueller report, declaring it a win for President Trump. And our Both Sides Now series returns with a pro and con look at a higher minimum wage.

The Daily News’ Jenice Armstrong 
makes Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell the subject of her column this Thursday morning.
Special Olympics PA. could face major funding cuts under the White House’s budget proposal, PennLive reports.
Pittsburgh City Council has given ‘tentative’ approval to those Tree of Life-inspired gun-control bills, The Post-Gazette reports.
Pittsburgh’s doggie ambassador, River, has resignedThe Tribune-Review reports.
In a new lawsuit, an Allentown school district administrator says he faced retaliation for claiming a colleague shared child pornThe Morning Call reports.

What Happens on Twitter – from its Angry Uncle:

A Philly judicial candidate who had the coveted pole position on the ballot has dropped out of the race, BillyPenn reports.
WHHY-FM takes you inside Philly’s ‘shadow’ housing market.
Food waste is already a major issue. explains why confusing date labels are making it even worse.
Roll Call explains why there’s zero chance that Special Olympics will be cut. 

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:


What Goes On.
The House Democratic Policy Committee road trips it to York College for a 10 a.m. public hearing on mental health issues. And at 10 a.m., in the Capitol Media CenterPEMADEPand other agencies talk about their efforts to prepare for spring floods.

Gov. Tom Wolf 
has no public schedule.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Tim Hennessey
5:30 p.m.: Reception for House Minority Leader Frank Dermody
Hit both events, and give at the max, and you’re out a mere $7,500 today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, who celebrates today. Congrats, and enjoy the day, sir.

Heavy Rotation.
We were remiss in not noting this on Wednesday. But Roger “Ranking Roger” Charlery,vocalist and toaster for The Beat, and later, General Publicdied Tuesday at the age of 56. This is a huge loss. From The Beat, here’s the classic “Mirror in the Bathroom.”

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Boston beat New York 6-3 in an Original Six match on Wednesday night.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.