Pro-Choice Pennsylvanians Declare Victory
Women’s healthcare and politics. So confusing! While the pros and cons of chalking up getting rid of affordable basic gynecological care for women in an attempt to restrict access to abortion and contraception were discussed non-stop in the months leading up the election, the issue was barely mentioned in the debates.
Then came the reports that abortion wasn’t a big deal for most voters anyway. According to a CBS News poll taken back in August, “as many as 57 percent of registered voters say it’s possible they would vote for a candidate that disagreed with them on the issue of abortion.”
So how did it go in Pennsylvania?
According to the email from Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates with “Victory in Pennsylvania!” in the subject line, pretty damn good for a state routinely ranked as one of the most “pro-life” by anti-choice lobbying groups.
“This election sends a powerful and unmistakable message to members of Congress and the Pennsylvania legislature that the American people do not want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions, and that politicians demean and dismiss women at their own peril,” says Sari Stevens, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.
They note that spending on broadcast ads addressing women’s health increased by 350% compared to the 2008 election. Planned Parenthood PAC spent approximately $250,000 on state races. Nationally, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Vote spent more than $15 million in key battleground states.
In Pennsylvania, they point to wins by Rob Teplitz in the open seat of retiring Jeff Piccola, Steve Santarsiero over Tea Party challenger Anne Chapman and Matt Smith’s victory in the seat of retiring Senator John Pippy.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. defended his Senate seat from Republican challenger Tom Smith. Casey is an anti-choice Democrat who would like to see Roe V. Wade overturned. He made news in the spring as one of three Democrats who voted for the “Blunt Amendment,” a failed amendment that would have allowed employers to refuse to cover their employees for any kind of healthcare service they were morally opposed to, from contraception to chemotherapy.
Still, to pro-choice advocates, Casey’s a better deal than Smith, a Tea Party candidate notorious for comparing pregnancy by rape with having a baby while unmarried. Not exactly a Sophie’s choice. But then again, pro-choice victories in Pennsylvania are often measured in ground not lost.