Dems for AG Serve Red Meat on Ultrasound Issue

Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy are opposed to a law that would require women seeking abortions to obtain an ultrasound, and they want you to know about it. In a series of public events, statements and interviews, the Democratic candidates for Attorney General have played to the base on the political issue.

Murphy has announced that he wouldn’t enforce the law as AG (probably moot, as the bill at this point is unlikely to get a vote let alone pass). On Monday, he called on Republican candidate Dave Freed to repudiate comments on the bill by Governor Tom Corbett. Corbett said women who did not want to view the image of the ultrasound, “just have to close your eyes.”

Freed is the District Attorney of Cumberland County.

“There is no legal justification for forcing a woman to undergo an invasive ultrasound, and after careful analysis, I believe that no reasonable arguments can be made to support the Constitutionality of this bill,” Murphy said in his demand that Corbett apologize. “As Attorney General, I could not defend it against a Constitutional challenge.”

Kane, meanwhile, has talked about the issue at length with the press – especially Ronnie Polaneczky. The Daily News columnist has written two pieces about Kane and the ultrasound bill in the past week.

Thank You, Kathleen Kane,” read the headline of the first. She simply highlighted Kane’s own words on the topic:

“As the only candidate in the Democratic Primary race for Attorney General who actually has had an ultrasound, I can tell you that it is an invasive, uncomfortable, often humiliating experience. As the only candidate in the Democratic Primary who actually has prosecuted criminal cases in a Pennsylvania court room, I can tell you that this bill constitutes an illegal search and seizure. Before law enforcement can search the properties or possessions of drug dealers, we must first serve them with a search warrant.  Criminals are afforded more rights than this wrongheaded ultrasound bill affords women.  This bill is yet another assault on women’s rights.  I stand firmly against it and am urging state lawmakers to do the same.”

Polaneczky echoed the theme in a second, full-length column.

It’s a bit of a tactical shift for Kane, who thus far has sought to limit the focus of the campaign to the the crime and punishment issues that have historically defined the office. The Inquirer’s Jeremy Roebuck summed it up well in his recent look at the race a week ago:

Kane, who spent 13 years in the Lackawanna District Attorney’s Office, has approached her campaign from a different angle, hewing to a defined view of the job while keeping the broader politicking of Murphy and, historically, the party at arm’s length.

Kane is a former assistant District Attorney from Lackawanna County, Murphy is a former Congressman from Bucks County.

6 Responses

  1. I’m a little late to this party, but living in rural central PA, I’ve just recently been learning about about the candidates for AG. As a woman, a woman’s right to choose is extremely important to me. When examining the candidates websites, Kane doesn’t mention it at all, which caused me concern. I’ve seen Murphy’s commercials where he does mention it, as well as it being posted on his website. Now I read the comments on here about Kane seeming to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak, and that concerns me as well. I think it would be great if a woman would win the office of AG; however, my vote has to go to the person who is the most well-rounded and willing to let us know where they stand on ALL the issues.

  2. In a statewide election, making the AG race about abortion rights is probably not going to play well in the general. PA is still pretty pro-life.

    Casey kicked Santorum’s ass because the pro-lifers who didn’t like Santorum would still have voted for him, if Casey hadn’t neutralized him on that issue. A lot of pro-life Democrats voted for Toomey and are not going to vote for the Democrat, if that’s a central issue of the Fall general campaign.

    Both candidates should and did take the right stand on the issue, but it seems that as usual, Kane has more actual experience with the issues. 🙂

  3. I applaud Kathleen for having the guts to tell her story. It was brave to put it out there and I think it helped humanize the fight for women’s rights. However, I was also a little turned off that she seems to imply that her being a woman somehow makes her the more qualified candidate here-especially when she’s been reticent to saying anything up until now. I get her approach and I know I’m her target demographic, but it rings a little hollow to me. I want to see more women in office, but I think it’s pretty clear that Patrick Murphy is the only one who seems willing to stand up and help us fight for our rights. And I think with the recent systematic assault on women- we need someone who is going to break down the walls, not just talk about their existence.

  4. Murphy has been a vocal and outspoken supporter of Women’s rights his entire political career. I was very impressed that he was chosen to be the keynote speaker for the annual NARAL fundraising banquet this year.

    Kane only came out as pro-choice recently…

    Kane may be a woman, but I trust Murphy far more to fight for our right to choose.

  5. I also saw the striking shift! I expected and really hoped that as the only woman in the race Kathleen Kane would be out front on the choice issue from the get-go. She has strategically avoided taking positions on anything and has instead focused on her prosecuturial acumen. She’s a prosecutor, that’s her angle, and I get that.

    Murphy has been relentless and vocal in denouncing the attacks on women (but please could they tone down the number of campaign emails!) Until very recently, Kane has been conspicuously and noticeably silent. I actually first wondered about this when I went to one of their debates months ago. Murphy and McCaffrey were unapologetic and vocal about being pro-choice, but Kane seemed to skirt the question and vaguely alluded to her support for women’s access to “healthcare”. I attributed it to a nervous first performance, but have been really surprised by her virtual silence since then. I can only assume that she found it politically expedient to suddenly find her voice and I have no doubt that she will run with it now that it has gotten her some traction.

    I was offended yesterday when I FINALLY received an email from her campaign on the issue. Women’s rights are not a bandwagon issue. Being a woman does not mean that you are a champion for women’s rights and I was insulted that after months of silence, her campaign thinks that is enough for me. She should have been out there from the beginning, not just when she saw our collective and rightful anger as her political tool. I still don’t fully understand the exact role of an AG here, but at least there is a democrat in this state with the guts to take up the fight (ahem Bob Casey)

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