ICYMI: Philadelphia Inquirer Opinion: “Defending Reproductive Rights In Pa. Starts At The Ballot Box”

Rep. Madeleine Dean highlights how reproductive rights are on the ballot in PA in 2022

PENNSYLVANIA — Today the Philadelphia Inquirer published a piece from Rep. Madeleine Dean outlining the ways in which reproductive rights are on the ballot in Pennsylvania in 2022.

The piece comes as the entire GOP Senate field has refused to oppose a Texas-style ban here in Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court will continue considering cases from other states that could threaten a woman’s right to choose.

Read the full piece here:

Philadelphia Inquirer, Defending reproductive rights in Pa. starts at the ballot box | Opinion

We can no longer simply say Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, writes Congresswoman Madeleine Dean — we need to take action to defend it.

My mother-in-law Joan was the youngest of six children, growing up in 1930′s Scranton. Her mother became pregnant with a seventh child and the doctors discovered that the child would be stillborn and that the mother could die in childbirth. It was the 1930′s, and her family did not have a choice.

If the same thing happened during an age of legal abortion, maybe the outcome would have been the same — perhaps she would have chosen to go forward with her pregnancy. But we will never know because that was a choice she never had, and both she and the child died. And six children grew up without a mother.

Our government has come a long way since then in defending women’s rights and reproductive justice. Yet, this fight is not over. Beyond grossly infringing on a woman’s autonomy over her own body, the Texas abortion ban deputizes vigilantes to enforce it. Even worse, the law makes no exception for rape or incest. And it is not a singular occurrence. Several states are planning to introduce similar restrictive abortion bills that disregard a woman’s right to choose. The Texas abortion ban is a warning to us all: Reproductive health is under attack.

As a result of the Texas ban, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in September, which codifies Roe v. Wade. This crucial legislation will likely not be voted on in the Senate because of the filibuster — a vestige of the Jim Crow era that has been used entirely too long to infringe on the civil rights of Black Americans. Now, it’s being used to block various legislation, including ensuring all women, regardless of the state they live in, have access to safe and legal abortions.

We can no longer simply say Roe v. Wade is the law of the land — we need to take action. In Pennsylvania, we must elect governors to protect us from out-of-control state legislatures, elect senators who will nominate judges who understand the need for safe and legal abortions, and elect a Congress that will codify Roe v. Wade in law. And there is more we must do.

We must expand our Democratic Senate majority, which is the only way to get justices who will uphold precedent on the court. If we lose the Senate, Mitch McConnell and Republicans will continue to fill the bench with anti-choice justices who do not believe in a woman’s choice or reproductive freedom.

This issue has never been more timely. The Supreme Court has heard arguments around Texas’ abortion ban, and will be hearing a Mississippi case next month that could effectively end Roe v. Wade. The justices of the Supreme Court are the final line of protection for a woman’s right to choose, and we need to ensure we are electing senators who will support justices that understand the importance of this right.

Pennsylvania has the best opportunity to flip a Senate seat in the country. More than that, we have the opportunity to elect Democratic congressmen and women that will once again pass legislation like the Women’s Health Protection Act; we must also elect a Democratic governor who will protect the choices of the women in our commonwealth.

For generations, Pennsylvania women and men have worked tirelessly to expand and protect access to reproductive healthcare. Today, I’m grateful to the organizations who are doing the work on the ground like Sister Song, Planned Parenthood, WeTestify, URGE, the WNBA Players Association, and more.

Together, we will ensure that no future generations have to repeat this fight for reproductive freedom. And Joan’s story will be a sad part of our history — not a tragic one of our future.

Madeleine Dean is the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district.