Longtime Abortion Rights Advocate Josh Shapiro Has Been Elected Governor Of Pennsylvania

The race for governor is critical to determining the future of abortion access in Pennsylvania.

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general, has won the race for governor of the state, defeating the Donald Trump–endorsed Doug Mastriano.

The race was called by Decision Desk HQ at 10:13 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Shapiro’s win means that Pennsylvania will continue to have a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both of the state’s legislative chambers. That’s particularly critical for maintaining abortion access in the state; Shapiro, a longtime abortion rights advocate, has said he will veto legislation from the GOP-controlled Pennsylvania state Assembly restricting the procedure.

Shapiro, who was elected as attorney general in 2016, focused his campaign on protecting abortion rights, raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding green energy and union rights, and investing in public schools and law enforcement, among other things.

Mastriano ran on issues such as lowering taxes and crime while also taking extreme stances on abortion and denying that President Joe Biden won the last presidential election. After the 2020 results were certified, Mastriano, who was a state senator at the time, held a hearing during which witnesses aired false claims about mass voter fraud. He also attended the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021, and was outside the US Capitol when Trump supporters stormed the building.

During his campaign, Mastriano, who served in the US Army before holding public office, said that if elected as governor, he would eliminate mail-in ballots; ban some teaching on race, ethnicity, and gender in public schools; and enact anti-abortion legislation such as the six-week ban he introduced in the state Senate in 2019.

In spite of the many attempts by Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania to restrict abortion rights over the last few years, the procedure remains legal in the state up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. That’s because each bill passed by the state’s General Assembly has been vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who could not run for reelection.

Shapiro has said that if elected, he would, like Wolf, continue to veto anti-abortion legislation.

In a statement sent to BuzzFeed News in September, Manuel Bonder, a Shapiro campaign spokesperson, said that the candidate “has always defended a woman’s right to choose, and as Governor, he will protect reproductive rights and stand up for real freedom.”

In contrast, Mastriano has said that marriage equality should be illegal, called the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a “triumph for innocent life,” and described legal abortion as “a national catastrophe.” He has previously stated that he opposes any exceptions to abortion bans.

As a state senator, Mastriano said that women who violated his proposed six-week abortion ban should be charged with murder.

“If Pennsylvania elects an anti-choice legislature and an anti-choice governor, abortion access in the state could disappear overnight as early as January,” Julie Zaebst, senior policy advocate for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, told BuzzFeed News in September.

“An abortion ban in Pennsylvania would not just affect state residents; Pennsylvania is currently seeing huge numbers of patients from Ohio and West Virginia who would have to travel even farther to get the care they need,” she added.