Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Doug Mastriano said in 2019 that women who have abortions in violation of his proposed six-week ban should be charged with murder.
Mastriano made the comments, which resurfaced on Tuesday, during a 2019 radio interview on Pennsylvania radio station WITF when discussing a so-called heartbeat abortion bill he had sponsored. The legislation would have banned the procedure after fetal cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks.
“Would that woman who decided to have an abortion, which would be considered an illegal abortion, be charged with murder?” Mastriano is asked in the interview.
“OK, let’s go back to the basic question there. Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl? If it is, it deserves equal protection in the law,” Mastriano responds.
“So you’re saying yes?” the interviewer asks.
“Yes, I am,” Mastriano says.
The Hill has reached out to Mastriano’s campaign for comment. The comments were first reported by NBC.
The state senator was originally asked during the interview about whether a woman who found out she was 10 weeks pregnant should be charged with murder if she gets an abortion.
“So let’s talk about someone, though, that knows what’s going on and says, you know, ‘I just found out. It’s 10 weeks, I just found out I’m pregnant. I can’t do this,’” the interviewer says. “’I’m going to have what would be an illegal abortion.’ Would that woman be charged with murder?”
“OK, so I love that because that’s often used as a red herring as well,” Mastriano responds. “Because what percentage of abortions are a result of that? Just an outright choice?”
Republican candidates up and down the ballot and across the country have been forced to reckon with past statements about abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year and Democrats used the issue to go on offense.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Josh Shapiro has repeatedly used the issue to attack Mastriano.
“Doug Mastriano has said his number one priority is banning abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother — and now, it’s clear he also wants to prosecute women for murder for making personal healthcare decisions. Mastriano has the most extreme anti-choice position in the country – and there is no limit to how far he would go to take away Pennsylvania women’s freedom,” Shapiro spokesman Manuel Bonder said in response to the resurfaced comments on Tuesday.
Mastriano appears to have downplayed his conservative views on abortion during the general election campaign, recently declaring that his opinions on the procedure’s legality are irrelevant because it’s something that should be decided at the state level.
“It’s up to the people of Pennsylvania. So if Pennsylvanians want exceptions, if they want to limit the number of weeks, it’s going to have to come from your legislative body and then to my desk,” Mastriano said in a recent interview on Real America’s Voice, a conservative outlet.