Yesterday, we reported on the origins of the House Republicans 20 week abortion ban, but the Harrisburg Group Think is not concerned about the upcoming House vote on what could be one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country. Many see this as a way for Republicans to throw red meat to the conservative base and pitch for more donations weeks before the primary. Sources within the Senate Democrats have stated that the Senate Leadership is not interested in taking up the bill, but there is some chatter that conservative Senate Republicans want to move the bill forward. A few legislators are worried that the GOP will send bill to the Governor Wolf’s desk, which will ultimately be vetoed. However, if the Republican Party is interested in getting this bill to become law, they do not need the Governor’s signature because they have the legislative math on their side.
There are 119 Republicans in the House and 30 Republicans in the Senate. These numbers are near super-majority numbers to override a Governor’s veto. To override a veto, 14 House Democrats and 3 Senate Democrats would be needed to pass House Bill 1948, which already has the support of 11 Democrats and the committee votes of two others who did not sign on to the bill.
During Governor Corbett’s tenure, two major bills limiting access to abortion via admitting privileges became law in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell story and new prohibitions against women using health insurance through the Obamacare marketplace for abortion services. Both of them passed with an overwhelming support of both chambers. The 2011 admitting privileges bill passed the House 151-44 and the Senate 38-12. Senate Democrats who voted for that bill include: Lisa Bascola, John Blake, Andy Dinniman, Richard Kasunic (no longer in office), Tim Solobay (no longer in office), Mike Stack (now LT. Governor), John Wozniak and John Yudichak.
The second bill to make it to Governor Corbett’s desk prohibited women from seeking abortions if they bought private insurance through the federal Obamacare exchange, and that passed the House 144-53 and the Senate 31-19. Senate Democrats who voted for that bill include: John Blake, James Brewster, Richard Kasunic, Tim Solobay, John Wozniak and John Yudichak.
Senators Kasunic and Solobay were two rural democrats who have been replaced by two conservative Republicans, Patrick Stefano and Camera Bartolotta. To throw things into the mix, State Senator John Wozniak is fighting for his political life this year in a gerrymandered district that is leaning more and more conservative in Johnstown and Altoona.
There’s an ideological divide within Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party. Those from the Philadelphia or Pittsburgh or Harrisburg areas tend to be more progressive on a lot of issues, but those from the rural parts of the state are more conservative than their Republican counterparts from the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions. They tend to care about god, guns and labor.