Home Advocate Longtime abortion rights advocate Josh Shapiro elected governor of Pennsylvania

Longtime abortion rights advocate Josh Shapiro elected governor of Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro won the race for state governor, beating Donald Trump-backed Doug Mastriano.

The race was called by the headquarters of the decision office at 10:13 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Shapiro’s victory means Pennsylvania will continue to have a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both state legislative houses. This is especially critical to maintaining access to abortion in the state; Shapiro, a longtime abortion rights advocate, said he would veto GOP-controlled Pennsylvania State Assembly legislation restricting the procedure.

Shapiro, who was elected attorney general in 2016, has focused his campaign on protecting abortion rights, raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding energy education and union rights, and investing in public schools and law enforcement, among others.

Mastriano has run on issues such as reducing taxes and crime while taking extreme positions on abortion and denying that President Joe Biden won the last presidential election. After the certification of the 2020 results, Mastriano, who was a state senator at the time, held a hearing in which witnesses aired false allegations of mass voter fraud. He also attended the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021 and was outside the US Capitol when Trump supporters stormed the building.

During his campaign, Mastriano, who served in the U.S. military before taking public office, said if elected governor he would eliminate mail-in ballots; prohibit certain teaching about race, ethnicity and gender in public schools; and enacting anti-abortion legislation such as the six-week ban he introduced in the state Senate in 2019.

Despite numerous attempts by Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania to restrict abortion rights in recent years, the procedure remains legal in the state until 24 weeks of pregnancy. Indeed, every bill passed by the state General Assembly was vetoed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, who was unable to run for office.

Shapiro said if elected, he would continue, like Wolf, to veto anti-abortion legislation.

In a statement sent to BuzzFeed News in September, Manuel Bonder, spokesperson for the Shapiro campaign, said the candidate “has always stood for a woman’s right to choose, and as governor he will protect reproductive rights and will defend true freedom”.

In contrast, Mastriano said marriage equality should be illegal, called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade a “triumph for innocent life” and described legal abortion as “a national disaster”. He has previously said he opposes any exceptions to the abortion ban.

As a state senator, Mastriano said women who violated his six-week abortion ban should be charged with murder.