Tom Corbett: Bad Pa. Governor or Worst Pa. Governor Ever?

Believe what people tell you, because people show you who they are everyday. No need for in-depth analysis, what people do shows you who they are. The actions of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett clearly tell us who he is.  When he and his cronies were saying that Pennsylvania would be like Saudi Arabia, he was not joking. Yes, he was talking about hydraulic fracturing and unconventional natural gas development that has overrun the state, with little to no oversight from the Commonwealth but damn if Corbett isn’t doing his best to codify women’s second class citizen status into the law of the land after callously disrespecting women.

On June 17th, Corbett signed a ban on abortion coverage in health care policies that would be available to purchase in the insurance exchange mandated by Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The funniest part of this is that the controlling GOP majority in Harrisburg doesn’t even want to run the exchange and the governor is in discussions with U.S Health and Human Services to have the feds run it.

Tom Corbett photo


The ACLU of Pennsylvania legislative director Andy Hoover said the law is different from past abortion regulations.

“This is a new frontier in restricting women’s health care in Pennsylvania, the state has never before prohibited a private insurance company from covering abortion for a private customer when the customer pays with their own money.”

Hoover said the federal health care law already requires separate abortion coverage payments.

Corbett has been mucking things up in Harrisburg since 2010, when he rode in on the coattails of the tea party hysteria. He’s well known to Pennsylvanian’s as being a stooge, but he became infamous nationally last year when he came under fire for supporting the Orwellian “Women’s Right to Know Act” which would mandate transvaginal ultrasounds for women before termination of her pregnancy. One of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the country, Corbett opined that a women could “just close her eyes” during her state sanctioned rape. The vote on the bill was postponed.

Corbett’s action further eroding women’s reproductive choices comes on the heels of a monumental shame for Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth’s draconian record on choice is well documented (You know that case Planned Parenthood v. Casey that’s always referenced? Bob Casey was our awful conservative Democratic governor back in the day and father to current Senator Bob Casey jr., who is also awful on reproductive justice!)

But the trial of Philadelphia back ally butcher Kermit Gosnell clearly showed that choice in Pennsylvania is on paper only. Gosnell is an expert opportunist who preyed on women with limited economic choices who were seeking second trimester and later term abortions. He was convicted of multiple murders, including the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old grandmother.

Mongar’s daughter testified that her mother had been turned away from two abortion clinics in Virginia, where she lived, as well as one in Washington, D.C., because none of them did second trimester abortions. She was 15 weeks pregnant when she started seeking an abortion, and 19 weeks by the time she died”

Late term abortions and the Gosnell’s of the world are what happens when women are unable to access health care early in pregnancy, when most abortions are safely performed with few, if any, complications. When abortion is restricted this is what happens. We know this is what happens, because this is what happened pre Roe v. Wade. This is what happens now in the developing world. Why the hell is it happening in Pennsylvania? Corbett has blood on his hands. The take away from the Gosnell shit show should have been “Make sure all women, especially the most vulnerable, can safely access the full range of reproductive services as early as possible.”

Make no mistake abortion in Pennsylvania is an actual choice only for those who are affluent enough to jump through all the hoops to access it.

There is hope on the horizon. Corbett faces an uphill battle for re-election next year.  Surprise suprise, his predilection to blame everyone but himself for Pennsylvania’s lackluster job creation has gotten him into hot water. Apparently “a lot” of businesses are still having trouble filling their ranks because too many Pennsylvanians use illegal drugs. And asked if he had any Latinos as staffers, he remarked “If you could find us one, let me know.”  Iwon’t even get into is role as AG and the Sandusky investigation. Or lack thereof.

His favorable numbers are in the tank and according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll two Democratic challengers would beat him by a wide margin. One of those challengers is U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and if elected, she would be PA’s first woman to hold the office. She also would bring her experience running the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center, a Planned Parenthood clinic, to Harrisburg.  Wouldn’t it be exciting to actually have an expert in public health putting forward health policy that is informed and accurate? I’m stoked.

The campaign season will not be kind to Corbett but you know what? I’m sure if he just closes his eyes, it’ll all be over soon.

Photo Credit: Paul Weaver via Creative Common

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