Fetterman talks reproductive rights, stroke recovery during campaign stop in Blue Bell

Lt. Governor John Fetterman told supporters he would vote to codify Roe v. Wade if elected to the United States Senate.

Fetterman is visible in profile, speaking at a podium in front of a crowd. A huge Fetterman campaign sign hangs in the background.

Fetterman addressed Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz's claims that he's reluctant to speak to the media after suffering a stroke in May. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

With less than two months to go until Election Day, Pennsylvania’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and current Lt. Governor John Fetterman rallied with other elected officials to defend reproductive rights in the state.

The “Women For Fetterman Rally” at Montgomery County Community College on Sunday focused on the importance of the candidate’s pro-abortion rights stance in the November elections.

A line of people stands outside. Trees are visible in the background, along with a parking lot.
Hundreds of Fetterman supporters lined up around Montgomery County Community College over an hour before the U.S. Senate candidate was scheduled to speak on Sept. 11, 2022. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, abortion rights in many states across the country were overturned.

Lt. Governor Fetterman is running against Republican candidate and political newcomer Dr. Mehmet Oz to replace outgoing Senator Pat Toomey.

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In May, Oz said abortion at any stage of pregnancy is “still murder” according to audio obtained by NBC News.

Fetterman told his supporters that sending him to the U.S. Senate will mean an extra vote towards codifying Roe v. Wade.

“This decision, should [it] be made up to Dr. Oz, or to a woman and a real doctor to choose? If every abortion is a murder, that means Dr. Oz considers every woman who had to choose an abortion is a killer,” Fetterman said.

In Pennsylvania, abortions are legal through the 23rd week of pregnancy, and after that if the patient’s life or health is in danger. Medical abortions and in-clinic procedure abortions are both still legal.

John Fetterman stands at a podium with arms outraised, with people cheering in front of him. The sign behind him reads, "Women for Fetterman."
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman spoke to hundreds of supporters at a packed Montgomery County Community College gymnasium on Sept. 11, 2022. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

According to a poll from the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of Pennsylvanians say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. A recent Franklin and Marshall College poll shows 52% say abortion should legal under certain circumstances while 37% say it should be legal under any circumstances. 59% opposed amending the state Constitution to say there is no constitutional right to an abortion.

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Last Wednesday, Fetterman agreed to one debate with his opponent. Oz has been pressuring Fetterman for weeks and aggressively questioning the severity of his lingering health problems from a stroke Fetterman suffered in May.

Fetterman decided to poke fun at one of his opponent’s notable gaffs while discussing what it’s like recovering from a stroke.

“I want to go to Wegman’s, but I’m actually in a Redner’s, but I would tell you that I’m shopping in Wegner’s,” Fetterman said. “Sometimes I mush two words together.”

Fetterman is seen from behind, reaching out his hands to attendees of the rally.
Fetterman embraced his supporters during a rally on Sep. 11, 2022 at the Montgomery County Community College gymnasium. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Fetterman’s campaign said the debate should happen in mid- to late October, however, no other details have been released. Fetterman took several months off the campaign trail to recover and only recently began making public appearances again last month. 

Pennsylvania’s senate race is being closely watched across the country as it will likely determine whether Democrats hold on to their marginal lead in the Senate.

On Sept. 3, former President Donald Trump rallied for U.S Senate Republican candidate Oz and Pa. gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in Wilkes-Barre.

FiveThirtyEight currently has Fetterman ahead of Oz in the polls, while Politico currently rates the U.S. Senate race as a toss-up.

Election Day is Nov. 8 and polls will be open from 7 a.m.- 8 p.m. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 24.

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