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New female voters outnumber men in Pa. after Roe

Plus, evictions are on the rise again.


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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
August 19, 2022
Roe response, in isolation, wiretap watch, eviction pace, Mastriano rally, 2020 review, and the Little League World Series returns. Hello! It's Friday.
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—Colin D., PA Postmaster

A group of obstetrics and gynecology medical professionals gathered Thursday to urge Pennsylvania lawmakers to keep abortion legal here in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Nurses and doctors from Penn State Health said further limiting access to the procedure would increase the maternal morbidity rate and prevent pregnant people from accessing needed care should a fetus be diagnosed with a fatal anomaly, PennLive reports.

“Patients do not need increased maternal morbidity or mortality,” Dr. Sarah Horvath said. “They need the freedom to have conversations with their care teams."

Penn State Health said it supports its employees' rights to express their opinions, which "do not represent the organization."

THE CONTEXT: The fall of Roe has brought increased attention to this November's gubernatorial election

Democrat Josh Shapiro supports abortion access. At the moment, abortion is legal until 24 weeks of pregnancy in Pennsylvania or longer if the pregnant person's life is in danger.

Republican Doug Mastriano has said he supports a six-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the pregnant person. He has since tried to downplay the governor's role in setting abortion policy, though Gov. Tom Wolf's veto record shows how much power the position actually has.

It appears that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision has mobilized women in the state. An analysis by TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, shows that among Pennsylvanians who have registered to vote since June 24, women outnumber men by a 17-point margin.

Lara Putnam, a University of Pittsburgh professor, notes that new voters are overwhelmingly choosing to be unaffiliated, rather than registering as a Democrat or Republican. 


"She is confined to her home 24/7 with exceptions. Every once in a while, if there is an activity that interests her, we ask if she can attend."

—An attorney for Jan. 6 suspect Riley Williams, who asked to be released from house arrest to attend this weekend's Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire; CBS21 reports the request was ultimately granted
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Butterfly effect, via John H. Send us your photos or art, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
SOLITARY STATE: State prisoners in Pennsylvania with mental illnesses are spending three times longer in solitary confinement than their counterparts, according to a study published in the journal Criminology. As we mentioned earlier in the week, attempts to limit solitary confinement through voter referendums are popping up in places like Lehigh County and Lackawanna County, while Allegheny County arguably serves a a cautionary tale on the limits of their effectiveness.

WIRETAP LAW: Law 360's Matthew Santoni reports a federal appeals court this week said Pennsylvania's anti-wiretapping law could also apply to third parties collecting your website browsing data without your knowledge. The conclusion revives a lawsuit centered on a claim that Montgomeryville retailer Harriet Carter Gifts violated state law by secretly recording information that consumers typed on its website.

EVICTIONS RISING: Eviction filings nationwide have steadily risen in recent months and are approaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels in many cities and states, the AP reports. In Allegheny County, PublicSource found new eviction cases exceeded 1,000 for the second straight month in July, "returning to levels not seen since the shutdown brought federal moratoriums and state curbs on evictions." 

RALLY DAY: GOP nominee for governor Doug Mastriano will rally in Pittsburgh today with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. The event comes with unusual restrictions for the news outlets covering it. And while organizers — speaking with WaPo (paywall) about a similar rally in Ohio — said the rules are waived for "legitimate" outlets acting in "good faith," concerns remain about the undemocratic approach.

2020 REVIEW: A review of 1,600 ballots from Butler County's 2020 election has been completed, the Post-Gazette (paywall) reports. Officials say the review uncovered no inaccuracies and three discrepancies: two in which the person reading the ballots miscounted the number of votes and one in which a ballot scanner wrongly determined there was no vote present. The review took 170 work hours.

ORDER EXPLAINER: You may have seen headlines about Gov. Tom Wolf banning or limiting the use of harmful "conversion therapy." The reality of what his order does is pretty complicated, Billy Penn explains.

RAINING CATS: There are so many cats at Humane Pennsylvania's shelter in Reading that all adoption fees are waived through Sunday, according to 69 News. Check out the felines looking for good homes.

INTERNATIONAL EVENT: The Little League World Series is underway in South Williamsport, and the AP reports that the tournament has 20 teams from across the world participating, the highest total ever.

DINER EN CRINGE: Dîner en Blanc, where people pay to wear white while eating their own food, returned to Philadelphia last night. Ernest Owens wants to know why the "overrated sham of a picnic" is still happening.

LUCKY LADY: I could write a blurb for this Pittsburgh Action News 4 story but I can't do better than the headline: "Western Pennsylvania woman celebrates her 102nd birthday at her favorite place: the casino."

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

*Bonus: Did you catch the theme this week? If so, send us your best guess of what it is for an extra chance to win some swag. Reminder: The winning words this week so far have been: examinations, lunchroom, backpacks, and ...
Yesterday's answer: Pedagogical

Congrats to our daily winners: Michelle T., Susan N.-Z., Elaine C., Don H., Susan D., Doris T., George S., Ed R., Jody A., Helene R., Judith D., Beth T., James B., Bill S., Craig W., Ana G., John P., Kim C., David W., Sandy S., Steve H., Kimberly D., Lynne E., Starr B., Chuck M., and Nancy S.
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