Democrats Highlight Abortion As Key Issue In PA-01 Race

The issue of abortion will factor into the upcoming fall election.

Candidate Ashley Ehasz speaking.
Credit: Tom Sofield/NewHopeFreePress.com

Democratic congressional candidate Ashley Ehasz emphasized abortion access as a key issue in the 2024 election during a forum on Saturday.

The forum was held in Warminster Township across from the soon-to-close Planned Parenthood clinic and was moderated by Connor O’Hanlon. It featured Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton; Democratic State Rep. Brian Munroe, who represents part of Central Bucks County; and former Planned Parenthood of Bucks County CEO Linda Hahn.

Credit: Tom Sofield/NewHopeFreePress.com

The discussion took place days before the June 24 anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.

Ehasz pointed out the increased activism among women since the Dobbs decision.

“That fear, I am sensing, is being turned into action,” she said.

The candidate emphasized the importance of voting and active participation in shaping reproductive policies.

Speaking just yards away from a Planned Parenthood clinic scheduled to shut down in Warminster Township, Ehasz, a U.S. Army veteran and former attack helicopter pilot, shared how the reversal of Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision has impacted military personnel.

“Active-duty soldiers cannot choose the state that they are stationed–so they can be stationed in a state that bans abortion,” Ehasz said. “My first duty station was in Alabama, my second duty station was in Texas … I would have no longer had access to abortion in many cases if I were still in today.”

The candidate also took the opportunity to distinguish her stance from that of incumbent Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in the race for the First Congressional District, which covers all of Bucks County and part of Montgomery County.

While Fitzpatrick has supported some abortion restrictions, he has stopped short of endorsing the more stringent bans advocated by some within his party in recent weeks. Last year, Fitzpatrick said he didn’t think it was “wise” for Republicans to support more restrictive abortion bills in the wake of the overturning of Roe. v. Wade.

Fitzpatrick’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has labeled Fitzpatrick an “anti-abortion extremist” and referenced several votes they claim endanger reproductive freedoms.

During the event, McClinton warned that the return of a Republican majority in Harrisburg could lead to further restrictive measures on abortion.

House Speaker Joanna McClinton speaking at the forum.
Credit: Tom Sofield/NewHopeFreePress.com

Munroe, echoing McClinton’s concerns, reminded attendees of the Democrats’ efforts to fight against a full abortion ban, adding most voters are against a full ban.

Recent polling indicates that a majority of Pennsylvanians support legal abortion in all or most cases.

Abortion has been shown to be a motivating factor in elections across the nation since 2022.

Credit: Tom Sofield/NewHopeFreePress.com

President Joe Biden’s campaign has focused on highlighting his administration’s moves to allow access to abortion, while some Republicans in state and federal office have pushed or voted for restrictive or complete bans.

Former President Donald Trump, who is running against Biden this year, has offered a number of views on the issue over the years, but he has in recent years called himself “pro-life” and said abortion should be left up to the states.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.

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