Medical professionals join Shapiro in show of support for his Pa. gubernatorial campaign

Nurse Shirley Gardiner expressed her concern about the negative impact an abortion ban in Pa. could have on maternal health at a rally for Josh Shapiro on June 29, 2022. (Tom MacDonald / WHYY)

Nurse Shirley Gardiner expressed her concern about the negative impact an abortion ban in Pa. could have on maternal health at a rally for Josh Shapiro on June 29, 2022. (Tom MacDonald / WHYY)

Josh Shapiro was joined by members of the medical profession Wednesday afternoon as he tried to draw a distinct division between himself and his opponent in November’s gubernatorial campaign.

Speaking in the shadow of Philadelphia City Hall, Shapiro reiterated his pledge to veto any ban on abortion if he was elected. He said his opponent Doug Mastriano would sign such a ban into law.

“The reality is in Pennsylvania with this legislature, they will put yet another bill on the desk of the next governor to ban all abortions and criminalize doctors who perform those abortions,” Shapiro said. “Doug Mastriano will sign that bill into law, and I will veto it. That is what is going to play out in Pennsylvania.”

Following last week’s decision, Mastriano issued a statement saying “Roe v. Wade is rightly relegated to the ash heap of history. As the abortion debate returns to the states, Pennsylvania must be prepared to lead the nation in being a voice for the voiceless.”

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Shapiro was joined by medical professionals who stressed the importance of abortion and choice when it comes to the issue.

Nurse Shirley Gardiner works at Temple University and was concerned about how a ban on abortions in Pennsylvania could threaten maternal health.

“In the U.S., Black women have an unintended pregnancy rate double that of non-Hispanic white women, and maternal mortality rate for Black women to which unsafe abortions is now an important contributor is almost three times higher than that of white women,” she said.

Dr. Michal Elovitz, a maternal fetal medicine physician said that doctors following anti-abortion regulations would be forced to watch a mother die in the most extreme case when a fetus that miscarried could not be delivered.

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“I took an oath when I became a doctor 25 years ago to do no harm. By not being able to offer my patients the lifesaving procedure of an abortion, I will cause harm and I will not harm my patients,” Elovitz said. “I will not let Doug Mastriano force me to harm my patients. It is not just untenable. It is dangerous to have politicians deciding what is best for women’s health to dictate how doctors provide care.”

Philadelphia Councilmember Cherelle Parker also spoke about how local governments are already considering regulations to prevent abortion bans and said she’s considering introducing legislation when council returns from its summer recess in September.

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