sen. Doug Mastriano of the state, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, said in 2019 that women should be charged with murder if they violate his proposed abortion ban.
In an interview with WITF Radio Station in PennsylvaniaMastriano was pressured over a bill he sponsored that would generally ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat could first be detected, usually around 6 weeks. Mastriano’s comments in that interview were previously unreported.
Under his proposed legislation, Mastriano was asked whether a woman who decided to have an abortion after 10 weeks of pregnancy would be charged with murder. Critics of the bill that Mastriano supported, and of other so-called “heart rate bills,” say it often takes about six weeks for many women to know they are pregnant.
“Okay, let’s get back to the basic question,” Mastriano said. ‘Is that a human? Is that a little boy or a girl? If so, it deserves equal protection under the law.’
When asked if he said yes, should they be charged with murder, Mastriano replied, “Yes, I am.”
Following the Supreme Court decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, the future of abortion rights has played a prominent role on the campaign trail. Few races will prove more important in determining access to abortion statewide than the Pennsylvania governor’s race, where those rights will be heavily influenced by either Mastriano or his Democratic rival, Attorney General Josh Shapiro. win this fall.
Mastriano has downplayed his previous support for strict abortion restrictions after winning the primary this spring, trying to portray Shapiro as extreme on the issue, claiming that his personal views are “irrelevant” because the legislature will eventually make changes to the current one. state law will pass.
His campaign did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
“My views are a bit irrelevant, because I cannot rule by fiat or edict or executive order on the matter of life,” Mastriano told the conservative network Real America’s Voice in an interview he posted on his Twitter page on Monday. “It’s up to the people of Pennsylvania. So if the people of Pennsylvania want exceptions, if they want to limit the number of weeks, it’s going to have to come from your legislature and then to my office.”
Shapiro has said he supports the current state law, which prohibits the procedure after 24 weeks with exceptions. The Pennsylvania legislature has been under GOP control for years and will likely continue to be run by Republicans after this fall’s election, making it very likely that Mastriano could sign further restrictions into law if he wins this fall. .
“Doug Mastriano has said his number one priority is to ban abortion without exception for rape, incest or maternal life — and now it’s clear that he also wants to prosecute women for murder for making personal health decisions,” Manuel Bonder, a spokesman for Shapiro’s campaign, said in a statement. “Mastiano has the most extreme anti-choice position in the country — and there’s no limit to how far he’d go to take away women’s freedom in Pennsylvania.”
At last week’s Pennsylvania March for Life, Mastriano called the fight for abortion rights “the most important issue, I think, in our lives.” In a conversation last week with the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania, reported by WESAMastriano said: “We can fulfill and achieve most of our desires by protecting life when we win on November 8”, adding that he is looking forward to the signing of the law “either [a] heartbeat law or” other legislation that would restrict the procedure.
Ahead of the May primary, Mastriano did not express a desire to include rape or incest exceptions in future legislation restricting abortion rights. He also described the saying “my body, my choice” as “ridiculous nonsense”. In response to the potential for overthrowing Roe, Mastriano said in a statement from May he hoped the Supreme Court would reverse “this science-denying genocide.”
Elsewhere in that 2019 interview, Mastriano said doctors who performed abortions that would be illegal under his law should also be prosecuted for murder, with abortion “absolutely” murder.
“So it goes back to the courts,” Mastriano said. “If that little, little person is judged to be a baby, a human being, that’s murder. And it has to go through the legal proceedings.”
His legislation ultimately failed the legislature, and came when Democratic state governor Tom Wolf pledged to veto new abortion restrictions.
Mastriano later said in the WITF interview that all conceived life should be given equal protection under the law.
“We know scientifically that when there is conception, that is a unique individual that will never exist again in eternity,” he said. “And that person deserves a chance and equal rights before the law.”
A CBS News Survey of this month found that only 7% of voters in Pennsylvania want abortion to be illegal in all cases, while 29% said they want it illegal in most cases.
Mastriano follows Shapiro significantly in both polls and fundraising. Trump, who supported Mastriano before the primaries, is set to hold a tele-rally Tuesday to boost his candidacy.