We know where Governor Rendell stands on abortion. We knew it before he was elected. On the evening of his primary election victory in 2002, gubernatorial candidate Ed Rendell introduced a small and select group of people he felt obliged to acknowledge. One of those persons was Kate Michelman, President of the National Abortion Rights Action League(NARAL) the fiercest proponent of abortion in the country. "This little lady behind me," stated Rendell, "who Philadelphia may not be too familiar with-but she was a true saint, Kate Michelman of NARAL." Rendell is blatantly pro-abortion, as he openly acknowledged the involvement of pro-abortion leaders in his campaign and has taken campaign contributions from pro-abortion organizations like NARAL.
While the gubernatorial primary election is still a year away, William Scranton and Jeff Piccola, Republican candidates for Governor, addressed a Pennsylvania Leadership Conference breakfast held April 16 in Harrisburg. Scranton made no overtures whatsoever to the pro-life movement. Apparently his stance has not changed since his days as Lt. Governor when The Centre Daily Times of State College printed an interview which revealed the extent of Scranton’s support of abortion. Mr. Scranton stated in the March 3, 1985 piece, "I am not one of those who supports a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. I just don’t think you can or should....My position on this issue is clear and it isn’t going to change or turn around, so that’s part of the baggage that comes with me and if they want to make it an issue, it becomes an issue...but I think there are more pressing problems that are of more legitimate interest in Pennsylvania." Garnett Biviano, President of the Pa. Pro-Life Federation in 1985 commented in an article in Lifelines: "A more pressing issue than life or death of a human being? What is more pressing than that?" It will be interesting to see if Mr. Scranton changes his position when facing two pro-life challengers.
Jeff Piccola expressed interest in conservative and religious issues at the Leadership Conference Breakfast. A January 18, 2005 article on GrassrootsPa.com reported State Senator Jeff Piccola (R-Dauphin) had been "on the wrong side of the abortion issue"..."According to High Street Communications’ Dean Quellette, who is currently consulting Piccola’s likely run for the Governor’s mansion, Piccola has had a gradual change of heart on the contentious issue and is now unequivocally pro-life." Piccola’s growing involvement in his church, with issues like stem cell research, as well as a "personal pregnancy-related experience within the family," have influenced his change of heart. Piccola voted pro-life on Pennsylvania’s fetal homicide bill in 1997.
Lynn Swann, former Pittsburgh Steeler Hall of Fame receiver came out assertively as pro-life in a recent television interview. When asked about his views on abortion, without hesitation Swann said he was pro-life. Draft Swann for Governor (www.draftswann.com) lists ten reasons to support Lynn Swann. Reason five states he is "A conservative: Pro-Life, Pro-Sportsman, Pro-Family."
The Governor’s race influences pro-life policies throughout the state, and makes a huge difference in the presidential election. Numerous visits to PA by President Bush and John Kerry in 2004 (including visits to downtown Scranton and Lackawanna County stadium) attest to that fact.