PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Supreme Court took up a highly controversial anti-abortion rights law from Mississippi on Wednesday morning.
The case could also have a profound impact on Pennsylvania.READ MORE: Friends Salt, Shovel Ramp To Hot Metal Bridge To Help Woman In Wheelchair
Whether you describe yourself as pro-life or pro-choice, at stake in Wednesday’s Supreme Court argument is how far a state like Pennsylvania can go in limiting a woman’s right to end her pregnancy. And that, of course, depends on who you elect to state government in 2022.
Under Supreme Court decisions over the past 50 years, women have a right to an abortion until about 24 weeks of pregnancy when a fetus is presumed viable, or able to live, outside the womb.
Now the Supreme Court is being asked to approve a Mississippi law that would restrict all abortions after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Pennsylvania’s current Abortion Control Act allows an abortion up to about 24 weeks, but some Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg have already pushed for tighter restrictions.
Pro-life Republicans, who control both the state House and state Senate, have been blocked by a pro-choice Democratic governor Tom Wolf, who has vetoed all the bills he believes restrict a woman’s right to choose.
Democrats say next year’s elections for governor and the general assembly are critical to protecting abortion rights, while Republicans downplay the issue.
“It’s crucial. What we are seeing is an attack on reproductive rights. And here in Pennsylvania, the stakes could not be higher. They could not be higher come 2022,” Marisa Nahem, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and takes away a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, each state could enact its own abortion laws.READ MORE: How To Protect People, Pets And Pipes During A Deep Freeze
“What we’re seeing in the Supreme Court, this isn’t something we’re just seeing nationally. This is something that is happening in Pennsylvania, too, and it’s what we’ve seen in terms of the Republican Legislature,” said Nahem.
“Instead of fear-mongering about what possibly could happen, look at the reality,” said Jason Gottesman, a spokesperson for the House Republicans. “Look at the laws that are on the books and realize that that is what’s going to happen and what’s going to be in place no matter what happens at the Supreme Court.”
But Democrats worry the Republican Legislature will limit abortion in the commonwealth.
“What that would mean is that abortion is effectively outlawed in the state. It would mean there are no exemptions for rape and incest,” Nahem said.
Unless more pro-choice lawmakers are elected to the state House and state Senate in 2022, the only check and balance for women’s rights, Democrats say, is a Democratic governor.
“Having the Republican Legislature, like we’ve seen, makes it even more crucial to have a Democratic governor who is going to be that line of defense against these extreme and unpopular and dangerous abortion bans,” says Nahem.
More scare tactics, Gottesman said.
“We don’t know how the Supreme Court is going to decide. We don’t know if they decide either side what that would be,” he said.
Republicans have tried to change the abortion laws in Pennsylvania, but Wolf has vetoed all those efforts.MORE NEWS: Mysterious Disappearance Of 70-Year-Old Janet Walsh From Shaler Remains Unsolved 2 Years Later
Whatever the Court decides, the abortion issue will be a hot-button issue in 2022.