HomeNewsDems hope abortion issue leads to judicial race wins

Dems hope abortion issue leads to judicial race wins

Judge Dan McCaffery
Judge Dan McCaffery listens to Gisele Fetterman.
From left: Jason Salus, Commissioner Jamila Winder, Gisele Fetterman, Judge Timika Lane, Signe Espinoza, Judge Matt Wolf, Neil Makhija and Judge Dan McCaffery.

Gisele Fetterman recently rallied Democrats to vote in upcoming statewide judicial races using one issue the party believes could be decisive – abortion.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states to set abortion policy.

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Nothing has changed in Pennsylvania, as abortion is legal through 23 weeks of pregnancy. There is no threat to the law, as Democrats control the House of Representatives and Gov. Josh Shapiro is staunchly pro-choice.

But that’s not stopping Democrats from using the issue to their advantage.

“Majorities in our courts matter,” said Superior Court Judge Dan McCaffery, running for the state Supreme Court.

Fetterman, McCaffery and others gathered Sept. 30 at the Montgomery County Democratic Committee’s new headquarters in Norristown. U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, Gisele’s husband, was scheduled to attend but was summoned to Washington to vote on a bill to keep the government open.

McCaffery, a Torresdale resident, is running against Republican Carolyn Carluccio, president judge of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Signe Espinoza, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, was on hand, describing the state’s 24-hour waiting period on abortion as “unacceptable” and reiterating her group’s support for McCaffery.

“He believes in bodily autonomy,” said Espinoza, who told the crowd she had an abortion.

McCaffery, whose campaign has taken him to all 67 counties, said he’s also been endorsed by labor and law enforcement groups.

“I am so proud, and I mean so proud, to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood,” he said.

McCaffery credited recently deceased California Sen. Dianne Feinstein – the onetime top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee – for opposing Donald Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

McCaffery said Democrats should honor Feinstein’s legacy by continuing to fight for legal abortion.

Democrats hold a 4-2 advantage on the state Supreme Court, with McCaffery or Carluccio taking the seventh seat.

Superior Court is tied 7-7, with two Republican seats open in the Nov. 7 election. Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane will face Republicans Maria Battista and Harry Smail. Lane, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge, attended the event. Fetterman wore a Beck shirt in her absence.

“Our bodies matter,” Lane said.

Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Matt Wolf, the Democratic nominee for Commonwealth Court, was also at the rally. He faces Republican Megan Martin.

Another issue mentioned at the rally was the state Supreme Court’s 3-3 decision on whether to count mail ballots that have omitted or incorrect dates. Democrats want those ballots to count, and are hoping McCaffery will supply the fourth vote. They expect Carluccio to supply the fourth vote to set aside those flawed ballots.

“If she wins, they’re going to throw out tens of thousands of votes,” said Montgomery County commissioner candidate Neil Makhika, as the crowd booed. ••

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