#LGov: Only Two Candidates Are Truly Pro-Choice

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With Mark Critz’s pro-life stance, and the yea votes by State Representative Brandon Neuman and State Senator Michael Stack of SB 732, legislation that closed five women’s clinic since its enactment in 2011, there are only two truly pro-choice candidates left in the lieutenant governor’s race: Mark Smith and Brad Koplinski.

SB 732 is what reproductive choice advocates and medical professionals call a TRAP law, or “targeted regulations of abortion providers”. This legislation saw much more bipartisan support than other legislation in the past because lobbyists capitalized on the national press coverage in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell grand jury report. This was a “low information” legislative discussion; had legislators actually visited women’s health clinics, studied the direct causes for victims to seek Gosnell’s help in the first place, or just listened to the long line of medical professionals who testified that this was a terrible idea that would not help anyone, this law probably would not have passed. At the very least, it would have been forced to pass without the support of democrats who claim overall to be pro-choice.

One victim who went to Gosnell’s house of horrors went there because of the harassment she endured outside of a clinic in Center City, because of Pennsylvania’s lax buffer zone laws. Strengthening protections for patients entering clinics would have been a sensible first step toward reducing the demand of victims for monsters like Kermit Gosnell. Another victim sough Gosnell’s help because she was in her second term of her pregnancy, and therefore, was not afforded the legal right to an abortion, this far along.

Nonsensical regulations on upstanding clinics without any connection to the victims does not serve their memories or quell their fears about future incidences; it only serves to trivialize what they went through and use it to score political points with conservative supporters and lobbyists.

Former Congressman Critz’s pro-life stance has been consistent, and he was not a state legislator who took part in passing this law. However, Senator Stack and Representative Neuman both voted to enact this law, and should therefore be honest with voters and take responsibility for the ramifications that have been subjected on female Pennsylvanians. Senator Stack, in particular, champions his support of women’s rights right on his campaign website, stating “Attacks on women’s health are extreme, harmful, and they happen all too frequently in our legislature. I am pro-choice and have fought against funding cuts to Planned Parenthood, and mandates for trans-vaginal ultrasounds for women considering abortions.” 

That is really awesome, Senator Stack, but what if you are a woman from Central Pennsylvania, who now has no access to reproductive care, thanks to this law?

We know from recent reports that this is not just a talking point of the “reproductive lobby”, as some conservative blogs have stated in response to my discussion of this law. A young woman in Central Pennsylvania, who had every right under the law to terminate her pregnancy, was put in harm’s way because thanks to this law, there were no clinics anywhere near her. Her mother, a nurse, saw no choice but to order the abortion pill online for her daughter, and weeks later, she was rushed to the emergency room due to an incomplete abortion.

Aren’t these the sorts of safety issues that legislators want to prevent, not cause? An incomplete abortion would never happen at any legally standing health clinic, because clinicians and staff have access to medical equipment. They certainly wouldn’t ever let a young woman go weeks with this condition, without any knowledge of the medical complication.

This law was a huge mistake, and it’s time for legislators who helped to get it passed to own up to that.



This entry was posted in Miscellany.

7 Responses to #LGov: Only Two Candidates Are Truly Pro-Choice

  1. Alex Reber says:

    Brad Koplinski also worked with us in Harrisburg to pass a Buffer Zone law to protect our health centers here from protestors who were very aggressive with some patients trying to access abortion care.

  2. Joey says:

    Wolf/Smith 2014. You heard it here first.

  3. …. there are only two truly pro-choice candidates left in the lieutenant governor’s race: Mark Smith and Brad Koplinski.

    Who is the best choice out of these two?

  4. Eric Blum says:

    If you vote for 732, it doesn’t mean you are pro-life. I’m sorry but that is lie told to you for fundraising purposes for Planned Parenthood I think. Here is the Gosnell Grand Jury Report:

    The Grand Jury recommended 732 and it has nothing to do with republican/democrat/pro-life/pro-choice.
    It is about making sure Abortion clinics are safer.
    Check out page 248…it states it VERY CLEARLY THERE

    • How did it? What they recommended and what the PA legislature passed are two different things. And if you trust the PA GOP on anything, I have some NJ waterfront property I want to sell you.

  5. Central PA Democrat says:

    A sure path to defeat in November is to suggest that the abortion issue is important in choosing a candidate, as Colleen Kennedy has done here. In my opinion, she might as well have written a puff piece supporting Tom Corbett, because that is all she is accomplishing in suggesting that either Brad Koplinski or Mark Smith would be a good choice for our ticket in the Governor’s race.

    Pennsylvanians are concerned about education, jobs, fair wages, infrastructure, honesty and accountability in their elected officials, and all the other lunchbox issues.

    To focus on anything else is a recipe for disaster, especially a controversial social issue like abortion.

    33% of Democrats nationwide self-identify as pro-life. That number is higher in Pennsylvania.

    I am just stunned by the assumption this and other articles I’ve read here make that to be a good Democrat, one has to embrace one side of this particular social issue, and support Planned Parenthood and unrestricted access to abortion for all.

    Perhaps even more importantly, there are candidates for Lt. Governor other than Koplinski and Smith who will actually move the numbers in our favor.

    I have met both Brad Koplinski and Mark Smith. They are nice candidates. But they will not bring a meaningful number of extra votes to the ticket, and this will be a close race.

    Choose wisely and choose well, Democrats! Unless, of course, you want Tom Corbett to have another term. If so, then by all means, listen to Colleen Kennedy and use the pro-choice litmus test just like the teabaggers use the anti-tax litmus test.

    • Colleen Kennedy says:

      Contrary to popular belief, I don’t write articles purely to serve the overall needs/desires of the Democratic Party.