Pennsylvania governor’s race results could send wave of those seeking abortions to NJ
In the wake of the Supreme Court's overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, New Jersey's state laws protecting access to abortion are among the strongest in the nation.
But abortion doctors in New Jersey are looking westward to Pennsylvania and the closely-watched governor's race that might send a wave of people seeing abortions to New Jersey's doorstep.
“The providers in western Pennsylvania are flooded right now with patients from Ohio and West Virginia,” says Dr. Lisa Perreria, of the Cherry Hill Women’s Center.
When the Court overturned Roe v. Wade, trigger laws in several states severely limited abortion, or made it outright illegal. These new restrictions could have an impact on New Jersey in a few months.
“Patients from western Pennsylvania that live in PA are likely going to have to travel to us in Philadelphia or New Jersey or other places because there are fewer slots in western PA,” Perriera says.
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Abortion providers like Perreria are looking across the Delaware River to Pennsylvania where a closely-watched governor's race could determine the future of abortion rights and have an effect on New Jersey.
“I believe life begins at conception,” Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano said in campaign material.
Mastriano was born in New Brunswick and was raised in Hightstown. He is the Republican gubernatorial nominee in the Pennsylvania governor’s race.
“It all begins with preserving life. And I'll do everything in my power to protect babies,” he said.
“If Pennsylvania passes a constitutional amendment or a law that says we cannot provide abortions here, then New Jersey, New York and other states, that spillover will continue,” Perriera says.
Perriera practices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She says abortion care in Pennsylvania is already different from that in New Jersey.
“New Jersey is a haven state. It's true, they've liberalized their abortion laws. So I believe we're safe in New Jersey,” she says.
Women seeking an abortion in Pennsylvania currently have to consult with a doctor and have a 24-hour waiting period, neither of which is law in New Jersey.
Mastriano is running against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro. Shapiro is the state's attorney general and has vowed to protect abortion.