Pa. gubernatorial candidate Wagner supports abortion restriction

Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, Scott Wagner, participates in a debate at the National Constitution Center.

Scott Wagner, participates in a debate at the National Constitution Center. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

With less than a week before the Pennsylvania primary elections, GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner has pledged his support for a restrictive abortion bill.

The stance is in line with a recurring theme in the race — the York County senator’s apparent battle with rival Paul Mango over who is further right politically.

The proposal is sponsored by Allegheny County Rep. Rick Saccone, who is running for Congress. He initially floated it late last year, but it was assigned to a state legislative committee only last week.

It would outlaw abortion in any case when a fetal heartbeat can be felt — something that can occur as early as six weeks.

Wagner’s campaign simply said he’s backing it because he’s opposes abortion, citing his “100 percent pro-life voting record.”

Former health systems consultant Mango kept his own stance vague.

A statement said he hasn’t reviewed the measure, but affirmed he believes life begins at conception.

The outlier among the GOP candidates is Pittsburgh lawyer Laura Ellsworth.

She’s also anti-abortion, but spokeswoman Brianna Buczkowski said she opposes the bill on practical grounds — namely, that it’s likely to be “immediately be struck down by the courts” based on precedents set by Roe v. Wade.

“As governor, Laura would really like to focus on pro-life legislation that would withstand any kind of constitutional challenge,” Buczkowski said.

A spokesman for Wagner also acknowledged the possibility of the law being struck down if it passes, and he said the candidate would “recognize the authority of the judiciary.”

Gov. Tom Wolf said he would veto the measure.

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