HARRISBURG, Pa. (NewsNation) — With the overturning of Roe v. Wade this year, abortion has been emphasized as an issue of importance for voters.
During the Pennsylvania Senate debate on Tuesday evening, candidates seemed to be split down party lines on the topic. Democratic candidate John Fetterman said he supports codifying Roe v. Wade, and his Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz believes abortion restrictions should be left up to individual states.
Oz has taken a pro-life stance on the issue, but supports abortion exceptions in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. He pressed that the federal government should not be involved in the decision.
“There should not be involvement from the federal government in how states decide their abortion decisions. As a physician, I’ve been in the room when there are some difficult conversations happening. I don’t want the federal government involved with that at all. I want women, doctors, local political leaders letting the democracy that’s always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves,” Oz said.
Fetterman says the choice to have an abortion should be between people and their doctors.
“I want to look into the face of every woman in Pennsylvania. You know, if you believe that the choice of your reproductive freedom belongs with Dr. Oz, then you have a choice. But if you believe that the choice for abortion belongs between you and your doctor, that’s what I fight for,” Fetterman said. “Roe v. Wade should be the law. He celebrated when Roe v. Wade went down and my campaign would fight for Roe v Wade, and if given the opportunity to codify it into law.”
Oz was also asked how he would vote on Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s federal bill that aims to ban abortion after 15 weeks. In his response, Oz stuck to his talking point that abortion restrictions and rights should be left up to states.
“I am not going to support federal rules that block the ability of states to do what they wish to do. The abortion decision should be left up to states,” Oz said, later adding: “Any bill that violates what I said which is the federal government interfering with a state rule on abortion I would vote against.”
Fetterman has frequently stated that abortions should be safe and legal. If elected, he said he would fight to reestablish Roe v. Wade.
“I support Roe v. Wade. That was the law of the land for 50 years. He celebrated when it fell down, and I would fight to reestablish Roe v. Wade. That’s what I run on. That’s what I believe. And I’ve always believed that the choice is between women and their doctors. And he believes that the choice should be with him or Republican legislators all across this nation,” Fetterman said.
Oz fired back, insisting that’s a misrepresentation of his views.
During the debate, Fetterman also said he would support allocating federal funds to transport women who live in states where abortion is banned to states that legally provide abortion services.
“I believe abortion rights is a universal right for all women in America. I believe that… abortion is healthcare, and I believe that is a choice that belongs with each woman and their doctor,” Fetterman said.
NewsNation aired the debate, which is being followed by post-debate analysis by Chris Cuomo on a special edition of his show “CUOMO” from 9-10 p.m. ET.