Abortion politics may shadow final weeks of governor’s race

The politics of abortion could be especially prominent this fall as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican Scott Wagner hit the final stretch of Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial campaign.

A changing U.S. Supreme Court and lawsuits winding through federal courts seem sure to put abortion rights front and center in governor’s races, including in Pennsylvania, where Wolf and Wagner are on opposite sides of abortion bills that could see votes in the Legislature.

Wolf, a staunch supporter of abortion rights, vetoed a bill last December to shorten Pennsylvania’s current legal abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 and effectively ban dilation and evacuation, the most common method of second-trimester abortion.

Wagner voted for the 20-week bill before he resigned from his state Senate seat in June. Wagner also backs a “heartbeat bill” in Pennsylvania’s Legislature that would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, usually at around six weeks of pregnancy, and a bill prohibiting abortions on the basis of Down syndrome, his campaign said.

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Debates before the Nov. 6 election could happen in Harrisburg and Washington.

Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate has scheduled nine session days in September and October in which it could advance the Down syndrome bill.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to be before the U.S. Senate in September or October.

The appointment of the conservative Kavanaugh has raised fears among abortion rights supporters that the high court will overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a nationwide right to abortion. That theoretically would leave it to states to decide to what extent to keep abortion legal.

No state…

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