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AG Shapiro spoke on the future of abortion rights at a conference in North Philly today.
AG Shapiro spoke on the future of abortion rights at a conference in North Philly today. Photo: Alan Nunez/ Al Dia News

AG Josh Shapiro holds conference on future of reproductive rights in North Philly

Dr. Val Arkoosh, Rep. Morgan Cephas, and Sen. Amanda Cappelletti joined the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate at the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity.

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As the Pennsylvania Governor’s race heats up with a little over a month to go until the election, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro is campaigning across Philadelphia and the state to make his stance on a number of issues, including reproductive rights, clear and make the Commonwealth aware of the future state of Pennsylvania if Republican candidate Doug Mastriano were to win in November. 

Shapiro held a press conference on the issue on Oct. 4 at the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity in North Philly. He was joined by State Rep. Morgan Cephas, State Sen. Amanda Cappelletti and Dr. Val Arkoos, who serves on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. 

The purpose of the conference was to discuss the future of reproductive rights as well as the high stakes that the Commonwealth faces in the PA Governor's race. The conference follows recent reporting that Mastriano said women should be charged with murder for having an abortion in a resurfaced radio interview from 2019. 

Photo: Alan Nunez/ Al Dia News

Thus far on the campaign trail, Mastriano has only doubled down on his plans to ban abortion with no exceptions including in cases of rape, incest, and concerns over the welfare of the mother. Reporting from last week revealed how the Republican candidate is diving further on his anti-abortion position, and has even called banning abortion “the single most important issue in our lifetime.” 

“I'm here today to warn voters about the threat that if elected, Doug Mastriano would pose to the health and wellbeing of every Pennsylvanian,” Arkoosh started the conference 

With Mastriano’s consevative views on abortion, Arkoosh continued on what issues doctors and physicians face in a post Roe v. Wade world. 

“We no longer have to imagine what loss of freedom might be like for parents and doctors. Because right now across our country and states where abortion is illegal, doctors are facing impossible decisions,” she said. “The freedom to control our own bodies, lives, and futures is at stake and on the ballot this November.”

After Arkoosh was Cappelletti, who gave a pointed response to Mastriano’s abortion views with her own personal story of her own struggles with pregnancy. She’s also served alongside the Republican gubernatorial candidate in the state senate. 

Photo: Alan Nunez/ Al Dia News

“I've shared with many of you publicly my stories of two miscarriages, and the treatment that is required when you experienced a miscarriage,” said Cappelletti. “That's real personal because I stand here today at 17 weeks pregnant thinking about what could go wrong. Those stories, my own experiences, are already stressful enough to think about what might happen. Will this be the one? Is this the time I become a mother? And now I have to add on that additional layer of will I be criminalized?” 

In the same vein of Arkoosh, she also said freedom over one’s body was on the ballot in November.

“We need each and every one of you at the ballot boxes, saying that ‘I have the right to my body and I'm going to vote for the people who guarantee me that right’, it is that critical,” Cappelletti said. 

When Cephas took the podium, she struck many of the same chords as those to go before her, but also focused on the health and life dangers that women, and doctors will face in a Mastriano Commonwealth. 

Photo: Alan Nunez/ Al Dia News

“We understand explicitly what we will get with a Republican governor. We will again see physicians being criminalized, families going into other states to access care. When we talk about back alley operations, dangerous operations, that is what we will see in this Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” she said.

Shapiro kept with the same messaging as he took the podium to finish out the event. He also returned to address the resurfaced video of Mastriano saying women should be charged with murder for getting an abortion.

“This guy is so dangerous and so extreme and is working to take away women's fundamental freedom all across Pennsylvania,” he said. “We're no longer having a theoretical conversation about choice. We're having a very real conversation in Pennsylvania right now about what we want our future to look like when it comes to reproductive freedom and women's health care.” In terms of what he’ll do to protect abortion in the state, Shapiro said he’d veto any bill from the legislature that crosses his desk.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

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