How Project 2025 aims to ban abortion in Pennsylvania

Woman holding a "keep abortion legal" sign outside the US Supreme Court on March 26, 2024. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

April 19, 2024

Former president Donald Trump said abortion was a state’s rights issue recently, but conservative organizations, under the banner “Project 2025,” are looking to ban abortion nationally should he win.

Abortion access and reproductive rights will once again be on the ballot in Pennsylvania this fall, even though Democrats control the Pennsylvania House and the Governor’s mansion.

Former president Donald Trump released a video on his social media platform, Truth Social, claiming that abortion rights should be left up to individual states, including the most restrictive anti-abortion bans in the country.

“Many states will be different,” Trump said. “Many will have a different number of weeks, or some will have more conservative than others, and that’s what they will be.

Trump may be moderating his anti-abortion positions due to the political backlash Republicans have faced since the US Supreme Court—including three Trump appointees—overturned Roe v. Wade.

What isn’t obvious is that right-wing extremists are drafting their own plans to ban abortion and severely restrict reproductive rights on day one of a second Trump term through Project 2025.

Project 2025 is a 920-page “presidential transition project” that’s loaded with hundreds of extreme right-wing policies aimed to completely upend the federal government should Trump win a second term.

This right-wing fever dream is being led by the Heritage Foundation and is supported by far-right organizations such as the Conservative Partnership Institute, Turning Point USA, America First Legal, and the Center for Renewing America.

Project 2025 seeks to ban abortion through a variety of means and by using outdated federal laws such as the 1873 Comstock Act to do so.

Conservatives want rescind the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone—one of two drugs used in medication abortion—and use an 1873 law to ban the mailing of abortion medication, such as mifepristone, or birth control medication. The Comstock Act prohibits the mailing obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy, or vile materials.

The Comstock Act would also ban the mailing of “anything designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion,” which would include not only abortion pills, but potentially medical instruments.

Under such an interpretation of the Comstock Act, any clinic that gets supplies shipped across state lines could be found in violation of the law, even those in states that have protections for abortion in the state constitution.

This would severely limit abortion access in Pennsylvania and prevent women from getting abortion care in states even where it’s legal at the state level.

If mifepristone is banned by the Supreme Court or under the Comstock Act, the share of counties with an abortion provider would drop from 19% to 15% and the share of women of reproductive age living in a county with an abortion provider would drop from 63% to 54%, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Lastly, Project 2025 calls for the funding of “alternative options to abortion” on the state and federal levels, meaning they want to divert taxpayer funds to anti-abortion facilities that spread medical disinformation.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Josh Shapiro cut ties with Real Alternatives, an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center, once their contract with the commonwealth expired at the end of 2023. The anti-abortion organization received over $100 million in taxpayer funds since the 1990s.

Shapiro replaced the anti-abortion funding with the Women’s Health Program, which provides services for parenting or pregnant women across the commonwealth. Services include parental care and postpartum support, early detection and prevention of health conditions, parenting education programming, sexually-transmitted infection testing, and more.


  • 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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