Republicans are highly skeptical that abortion can resuscitate the Democratic base. “Their people are depressed,” said Rob Gleason, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. “Nothing will save them this year.” After a road trip from his home in western Pennsylvania, Mr. Gleason from Philadelphia: “I stopped at the turnpike and paid $5.40 a gallon for gas. That reminds me every time I want a change.”
Pennsylvania’s large Roman Catholic population — about one in five adults — has provided electoral space for a tradition of anti-abortion Democratic officials, including Senator Bob Casey Jr., and his father, Bob Casey Sr., who served as governor. A law that senior Casey pushed through the legislature in the 1980s included some abortion restrictions, which were challenged in the Supreme Court’s 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. The court upheld most of the state’s restrictions, while Roe v. Wade granted the right to abortion. The leaked draft of the court’s opinion written last week by Judge Samuel Alito would quash the Casey ruling along with Roe.
The State of Roe v. Wade
What is Roe v. Wade? Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The 7-2 ruling was announced on January 22, 1973. Judge Harry A. Blackmun, a humble Midwestern Republican and advocate of abortion rights, wrote the majority opinion.
Still, support for abortion rights in Pennsylvania has gradually increased, according to Franklin & Marshall College polls over more than a decade.
Last month, 31 percent of registered voters said abortion should be legal under all circumstances, up from 18 percent in 2009. The number of proponents of abortion under all circumstances fell to 16 percent, from 22 percent in 2009. A broad middle group, 53 percent said abortion should be legal under “certain circumstances.”
The issue hadn’t been highly regarded by state voters before the Supreme Court leaked. In a Monmouth University poll last month, just 5 percent of Democrats and 3 percent of Republicans named abortion as one of the top two issues facing Pennsylvania voters. Inflation was at the top of voters’ concerns in both parties.
In Hanover Township, outside of Allentown, an affluent suburb in a blue-trended former Republican enclave, Dave Savage and Vincent Milite, both center-right voters, analyzed the abortion issue through the eyes of their grown daughters as they loaded groceries outside a Wegenmans supermarket. .
Mr Savage, 63, said his 30-year-old daughter strongly believed that abortion should be legal, and that therefore it would be an important issue for him in November.