Gov. Shapiro pledges defense of reproductive rights at Harrisburg roundtable

Gov. Josh Shapiro delivering remarks at a reproductive rights roundtable with local and national leaders from Planned Parenthood at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg on Fri. Jan. 26, 2024. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

January 26, 2024

Planned Parenthood leaders from across the country and Pennsylvania gathered in Harrisburg on Friday for a roundtable discussion on reproductive freedoms. Gov. Josh Shapiro promises action if the Supreme Court bans mifepristone.

Planned Parenthood Action Network President Alexis McGill Johnson and leading reproductive advocates toured the Pennsylvania State Capitol and held a roundtable discussion about the status of reproductive rights in the commonwealth with Gov. Josh Shapiro, Health and Human Services Sec. Val Arkoosh and other key stakeholders on Friday.

Shapiro opened the forum by telling panelists and attendees that his administration is currently taking steps to protect reproductive healthcare in the commonwealth if the US Supreme Court bans mifepristone, the most widely used abortion medication in the country.

“Just, literally, yesterday, we were in an important meeting with lawyers, [Lindsey Mauldin] and others in my office to prepare for what the Supreme Court of the United States may do on mifepristone,” Shapiro told the room. “To know that we that we in the commonwealth will be ready to act immediately thereafter ensuring that women continue to have access to reproductive healthcare here in Pennsylvania.”

Since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, Pennsylvania has become a destination for those seeking an abortion while Democrats have been able to stave off constant attacks from the right-wing thanks to recent electoral victories.

21 states have banned abortion since the Court overturned Dobbs, and in the first six months of 2023, nearly 100,000 women have had to leave their homes to obtain the medical procedure, McGill stated at the event.

“Pennsylvania has been standing in the gap of care, providing patients from near and far with the healthcare they need and deserve,” McGill stated.

“Since the Dobbs decision, Planned Parenthood health centers in Pennsylvania have seen a significant increase in patients seeking access to abortion from out of state coming as far as Texas and Florida.”

Shapiro campaigned on protecting reproductive freedoms in the 2022 election and soundly defeated State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) later that year. House Democrats were able to flip the chamber for the first time in over a decade, which stopped an anti-abortion constitutional amendment in its tracks.

Then in 2023, Judge Daniel McCaffery, the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, defeated Montgomery County President Judge Carolyn Carluccio by focusing on Carluccio’s anti-abortion record.

The Keystone originally reported in May 2023 that Carluccio deleted her anti-abortion resume from her campaign website following the primary, which became the main issue Democrats and organizations such as Planned Parenthood reminded voters during the general election.

Shapiro opened the roundtable discussion reaffirming his commitments to protecting reproductive rights in Pennsylvania.

“As you governor, you know that I am committed to defending, protecting and expanding real freedom here in the Commonwealth,” Shapiro said. “One of the key pillars of real freedom is defending reproductive healthcare across all Pennsylvania.”


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.


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