Pennsylvania’s GOP Nominee for Governor Said Women Who Have Abortions Should Be Charged With Murder

Doug Mastriano's comments are way out of step with voters in the state, who support abortion rights by wide margins.

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Pennsylvania’s GOP Nominee for Governor Said Women Who Have Abortions Should Be Charged With Murder
Doug Mastriano speaks ahead of former President Donald Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Photo:Mary Altaffer (AP)

Doug Mastriano—Pennsylvania state Senator, election denier, Christian Nationalist, and Trump-endorsed Republican nominee for governor of the state—really hates abortion. In 2019, he was a lead sponsor of a ban on abortions after about six weeks, misleadingly called a “heartbeat bill.” The bill didn’t get a vote, but in an interview he said that, if the ban had passed, he thought women who had abortions in violation of the ban should be charged with murder.

In a November 2019 interview with Pennsylvania radio station WITF, the host asked what Mastriano thought should happen to women who have illegal abortions. “OK, let’s go back to the basic question there: Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl? If it is, it deserves equal protection under the law,” Mastriano said. The host asked if he was saying yes, the pregnant person should be charged with murder, and Mastriano responded: “Yes, I am.” (This part of the conversation starts at 25:45 in the interview.) NBC News first published the previously unreported comments.

Mastriano’s campaign didn’t respond to NBC’s request for comment. Manuel Bonder, a spokesperson for the campaign of Democratic nominee and current Attorney General Josh Shapiro, told NBC in a statement that “Mastriano has said his number one priority is banning abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother—and now, it’s clear he also wants to prosecute women for murder for making personal healthcare decisions.”

Even if Mastriano’s bill had passed, it would have been vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D). If Mastriano were to beat Shapiro in the November election, he could sign abortion restrictions into law—something Mastriano recently said he’s itching to do.

He told the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania last week that, if elected, he “look[s] forward to signing into law” either a ban on abortion after six weeks or a ban in the second trimester. “We can fulfill and achieve most of our desires in protecting life when we win on eight November,” he said. (Abortion is currently legal through 24 weeks in the Keystone state, and a recent Franklin and Marshall College poll shows voters in the state support abortion rights by a wide margin.)

At the Pennsylvania March for Life last week in Harrisburg, Mastriano told a reporter that abortion is “the single most important issue, I think, in our lifetime.”

Just some other things to note while we’re talking about this guy:

  • He is still a state senator and said he would introduce a bill to ban gender confirmation surgery for minors.
  • He posed in a Confederate uniform in a 2014 faculty photo for the Army War College
  • He spent several thousands of dollars to advertise on Gab, the far-right site that is a haven for conspiracy theorist and anti-semites, including the man who killed 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue

This guy is so fringe that even Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Shapiro over him.

Shapiro is currently leading Mastriano in the polls by double digits—but we all saw what happened in the state in 2016, so, any Pennsylvanians thinking of staying home or voting third party this year, consider yourselves warned.

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