Legislation that would require women undergoing abortions to first receive ultrasounds has become an issue in the state's attorney general race, despite the fact that the bill is currently stalled in the House.
Even though the measure is far from being law, Democratic candidates are still using the issue to help define their candidacy. Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy were both quick to denounce the bill as unconstitutional. Kane, a former prosecutor of Lackawanna County and Murphy's Democratic opponent, says there's no great gulf between them.
"I don't understand why Democrats, two Democrats who, by his own words, who oppose this bill are even arguing about it," Kane said. "We both oppose the bill. We both agree that it is unconstitutional. Neither one of us will enforce it."
But Murphy, an ex-Congressman from Bucks County, argues the bill is unconstitutional, and says his basis for saying so distinguishes him from his opponent.
"So you have to fight against it, not just say you don't support it, but say that you would fight it every step of the way," Murphy said.
In a move to keep the issue alive, the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania has since called on the Republican running for attorney general, Dave Freed, to take a stance on the legislative proposal to make pre-abortion ultrasounds mandatory. Freed, the Cumberland County district attorney, says he's not ruling out a debate on the mandatory ultrasound bill at some point further down the road, but he's not going to take a stand on it just because the Democratic Party calls on him to do so.
"That's playing politics with this issue. This idea of 'I call on you to denounce this, or denounce that, or do this, or do that,'" Freed said.
There is no sign the mandatory ultrasound bill will be scheduled for debate soon in the House.