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Just In Time For Primary, Wagner Takes Tough Abortion Stance

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner is promoting himself as strongly pro-life.
AP Photo

(Harrisburg) -- With less than a week before the primary elections, GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner is voicing his support for a restrictive abortion bill.

The stance is in line with a recurring theme in the race—the York County Senator’s apparent battle with rival Paul Mango over who is farther right politically.

The proposal is sponsored by Allegheny County Representative Rick Saccone, who is running for Congress. He initially floated it late last year, but it was only assigned to a committee last week.

It would outlaw abortion in any case when a fetus’s heartbeat can be felt—something that can happen as early as six weeks.

Wagner’s campaign simply said he’s backing it because he’s pro-life, and cited his “100 percent pro-life voting record.”

Former health systems consultant Paul Mango kept his own stance vague.

A statement said he hasn’t reviewed the measure, but affirmed he believes life begins at conception.

The outlier of the GOP candidates is Pittsburgh lawyer Laura Ellsworth.

She’s also pro-life, but spokeswoman Brianna Buczkowski said she opposes the bill on practicality grounds—namely, it’s likely to be “immediately be struck down by the courts” based on precedents set by Roe v Wade.

“As governor, Laura would really like to focus on pro-life legislation that would withstand any kind of constitutional challenge,” Buczkowski said.

A spokesman for Wagner also acknowledged the possibility of the law being struck down if it passes, and said the candidate would “recognize the authority of the judiciary.”

Governor Tom Wolf said he would veto the measure.

Katie Meyer covers politics, policy, power, and elections at every level of government, with the goal of showing how it all affects people’s lives. Before coming to Philadelphia, she covered state politics as Harrisburg bureau chief for WITF, and hosted the station’s politics podcast. She got her start in public radio in the Bronx, at Fordham University station WFUV. She’s from upstate New York.
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