The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Abortion issue energizes Lehigh Valley voters

Emily Cain, the executive director of the pro-choice EMILY’s List PAC, campaigned in Bethlehem with U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-7) on Sunday. (Photo by Olivia Taylor-Puckett for Susan Wild for Congress)

The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade this past June, has inspired Lehigh Valley voters to head to the polls in November. 

“The issue of abortion rights is very important to me in this election,” Samantha Axelrod ‘26 said. “If Doug Mastriano wins, he is going to ban abortion. We have to support the women in Pennsylvania who can’t afford to travel to another state to get one legally. It is important to me to support the women of my community.” 

Doug Mastriano is the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania. During a debate in April, Mastriano said that he would prefer to criminalize abortion with “no exceptions.” Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general and the Democratic candidate for governor, “has pledged to veto any legislation that would further limit access to abortion in Pennsylvania, where state law allows abortions to be performed up to about 24 weeks into a pregnancy or longer if the life of the pregnant person is in danger,” according to Spotlight PA.

But it is not just the gubernatorial race that Lehigh Valley voters are tuned into this fall. Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 137th State House District Anna Thomas and Democratic candidate for the Seventh U.S. House District Susan Wild rallied support for their campaigns at a Get Out the Vote canvass event in Bethlehem this past Sunday.

“In Pennsylvania, the government has not been involved in our family planning decisions for the last 50 years,” Anna Thomas said. “And now they’re proposing extremely unprecedented laws that would completely change that.”

Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY’s List, endorsed the campaigns of Wild and Thomas at their voter mobilization event on Sunday. EMILY’s List is a political action committee that endorses Democratic, pro-choice women as candidates for state, local and national legislative positions. 

“EMILY’s List was like a lifeline,” Rep. Wild said. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them.”

EMILY’s List has helped elect 159 women to the United States House.

“Our impact is huge on changing the face of power in this country,” Cain said. “And I’m especially proud that in Congress, our record is 40% of women elected to Congress were women of color. So this is really about diversifying the voices of women at the table of power as well in Congress and state houses all across the country.”

The Pennsylvania State legislature is currently controlled by Republicans, who have yet to restrict access to abortion due to Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s vetoes.  

“If Republicans are able to take the House and the Senate, they are planning to pass national abortion bans,” Cain said. “They have said it out loud. They’re making plans to do it. And Susan’s House seat in Congress is an absolutely fundamental key to holding the House Majority and putting a stop to that. Susan and Anna are exactly the kind of candidates we need.”

Other voters attending the canvass on Sunday were Moravian University students, including the president and vice president of the Democratic Students club. 

“I am here showing my support for Representative Wild for the sake of college students across the board,” club president Brianna Nigrone said. “Reproductive rights are a prominent issue affecting [this demographic] in the election.”

Vice president Zoey Branson said that “it is important for young voters to make ourselves known.”

“I am a nanny, and this is important for me because I want those girls, and other people’s daughters, to have a right to choose,” Branson said.

While around 60 percent of Americans label themselves as pro-choice, there are varying opinions within that group on which limitations and regulations, if any, should be imposed in certain cases.

“Women have individual needs, so I do not support limitations,” Maureen Porter of Bethlehem said. “I believe that conversation should be between the doctor and the patient. Reproductive rights are in significant danger. These are frightening times.”

Correction 10/24/2022: A previous version of this article identified Doug Mastriano as the candidate for governor in Pennsylvania’s Seventh Congressional District. Mastriano is running to be the governor of Pennsylvania.

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Jenny Davis, Staff News Writer

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