Today was the first day House lawmakers were in Harrisburg since Friday’s decision which returns abortion to the states. Democratic leaders acknowledged their frustration and disappointment with the decision, but also expressed energy for what they call “a time for action.”
“We’re here with our sleeves rolled up and ready to rumble. It is absolutely unacceptable that in 2022, this court, the highest court in our land, did what the American people had simply instructed them and told them not to do,” said House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware). “We’re not here crying with tears. We’re here ready to rumble,” McClinton added.
Lawmakers are supposed to finalize the state’s budget for 2022-23 by Thursday. Whether lawmakers will be able to compromise and reach a final agreement by then is still up in the air.
“We should be talking about this budget. We should be talking about the priorities that we all agree upon. We should be talking about making sure that this right, that has been taken away from our neighbors in West Virginia, in Ohio, is protected here in Pennsylvania,” said McClinton.
McClinton and her Democratic colleagues expressed frustration with several Republican-led pro-life measures being considered.
“The Republicans in Harrisburg have shown us who they are,” said McClinton. “They’ve shown us they don’t believe in women’s rights. They’ve shown us they don’t believe it should be up to each and every birthing person to decide what happens with their own body,” said McClinton. “We recognize this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning of them trying to chip away at democracy, at humanity, at equity, at women,” said McClinton
In recent years, pro-life measures have passed both chambers, but were ultimately vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf. Gov. Wolf has consistently vowed to veto any other bills restricting abortion access as long as he is governor.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), expressed similar sentiment to his colleague in the House. He says those who are upset and frustrated should use their anger to advocate.
“We have to take this anger and really turn it into action. The call to action today is get engaged, get involved, speak with your colleagues, speak with your friends, speak with your neighbors to be able to rally around what needs to be done to ensure that we’re going to protect the right of women to make those decisions,” said Costa. “What we have to do together, is take that dark day, take that nightmare of Friday, and we’ve got to convert it. We’ve got to convert it into solidarity and working together to be able to go advocate for what needs to be done. We have to take our frustration and turn it into advocacy and make certain that we do what we have to do in our communities and reminding folks how important this issue is,” Costa added.