The Greatest Abortion Battlefield of the Midterms: Pennsylvania

The Greatest Abortion Battlefield of the Midterms: Pennsylvania

Republicans are deeply skeptical that abortion can revitalize the Democratic base. “Your people are depressed,” said Rob Gleason, a former chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. “Nothing will be able to save them this year. After a road trip from his home in western Pennsylvania to Philadelphia, Mr. Gleason said, “I pulled up at the turnpike and paid $5.40 a gallon for gas. It reminds me every time I fill up that I want to make a change.”

Pennsylvania’s large Roman Catholic population — about one in five adults — has given voting space to a tradition of anti-abortion Democrats, including Senator Bob Casey Jr. and his father, Bob Casey Sr., who served as governor. A statute that the senior Casey pushed through the legislature in the 1980s included some abortion restrictions that were introduced in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey were challenged by the Supreme Court. The court upheld most of the state’s restrictions while ruling Roe v. Wade’s grant of a right to an abortion upheld. Last week’s leaked draft court ruling, authored by Judge Samuel Alito, would overturn Casey’s verdict along with Roe.

Still, support for abortion rights in Pennsylvania has gradually increased over more than a decade, according to Franklin & Marshall College polls.

Last month, 31 percent of registered voters said abortion should be legal under all circumstances, up from 18 percent in 2009. Those who said abortion should be illegal under all circumstances fell from 22 percent in 2009 to 16 percent . A broad media group, 53 percent said abortion should be legal in “certain circumstances”.

The issue didn’t rank high with the state’s voters prior to the Supreme Court leak. In a poll conducted by Monmouth University last month, abortion was named as one of the top two issues by voters in Pennsylvania by just 5 percent of Democrats and 3 percent of Republicans. Inflation outweighed the concerns of voters from both parties.

In Hanover Township, outside Allentown, an affluent suburb in a former Republican enclave that’s turning blue, Dave Savage and Vincent Milite, both centre-right voters, analyzed the abortion issue through the eyes of their adult daughters while they sipped groceries in front of a Loading Invited Wegmans Supermarket.

Mr Savage, 63, said his 30-year-old daughter was adamant that abortion should be legal and that it would therefore be an important issue for him in November.

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