Pennsylvania Inches Closer Toward Restricting Abortion Access

The upcoming midterm elections hold high stakes for abortion access in the Keystone State.

Outline of Pennsylvania filled in with black, with the text
The upcoming midterm elections will affect abortion access in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Cage Rivera/Rewire News Group

This week, we’ll take you to one of the major battleground states for abortion access and reproductive rights in the post-Roe era: Pennsylvania, where the political landscape is poised to shift after the midterm elections this November.

Last Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case in which advocates are seeking to establish protections for abortion under the state constitution. A law dating back to 1982 prevents Medicaid funding from being used for abortions, and providers are arguing that it violates the Keystone State’s Equal Rights Amendment.

“Not allowing Medicaid to pay for abortion is essentially an abortion ban for those already overwhelmingly living in poverty or disabled and it would only serve to further this economic and wealth divide,” Kelly Davis, executive director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, said in a press conference following the arguments.

The Medicaid fight isn’t the only battle abortion advocates face in Pennsylvania. This summer, Republican lawmakers in the state House and Senate approved an anti-abortion amendment, which needs to be approved by the state legislature a second time before voters decide whether it gets added to the Constitution of Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, the state’s abortion clinics have been reporting an increase in out-of-state patients, from next door in Ohio to as far as Texas, seeking reproductive health care.

“We really have been able to meet the demand, but we are seeing an increase, and we know that the demand is going to continue to grow,” Melissa Reed, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Keystone, told WHYY.

Advocates and providers are preparing for all outcomes, even as they seek to expand telehealth options and access to medication abortion. With the election just over a week away, the future of abortion access in Pennsylvania hinges on the gubernatorial and legislative races, in addition to a major U.S. congressional race that will help determine the national landscape.

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.