This article has been updated to reflect that Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Reproductive rights have never been as threatened as they are now, now that the Supreme Court’s ultra-conservative majority overturned Roe v Wade on Friday. In fact, Pennsylvania state House Republicans held a “Post-Roe Strategy Summit” in April to prepare just for this moment. With so much on the line moving foward, it is necessary to showcase the record of Bucks County’s most prominent anti-choice politician – Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.
You would not know Fitzpatrick’s stand on reproductive rights from reviewing his campaign website, where he assiduously avoids making any mention of his stance on abortion. Instead, Fitzpatrick uses segments about “A Healthcare System that Works for Everyone” and “Empowering Women” to discuss everything but reproductive choice. One needs to dig a little deeper into his record to find out where Fitzpatrick, who voted for Donald Trump in 2020, really stands on the issue.
Despite disingenuously painting himself as a moderate, Fitzpatrick’s votes on abortion show that he is singularly out of step with the majority of Americans. Well over 75% of Americans polled have said that abortion should be legal in all or most situations. Here in Pennsylvania, that number climbs to 83%, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite this, Brian Fitzpatrick has voted consistently to strip people of their right to access this medical procedure.
Fitzpatrick’s first anti-choice vote came when he was only three weeks into his first term in office, when he voted YES on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill of 2017. Later that same year, the Congressman also voted for a budget that included provisions to defund Planned Parenthood, and he capped off the year in anti-choice votes by supporting a 20-week abortion ban in October 2017.
Fitzpatrick’s second year in office was just as awful, and saw him voting YES on a bill granting legal rights to fetuses, as well as another piece of legislation that NARAL Pro-Choice America describes as “interference in abortion practice.” This bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is a piece of typical Republican political theater, as it seeks to codify into law something that is already illegal (killing an infant), but also a practice that is effectively non-existent – a right-wing urban legend. But that has not stopped Congressman Fitzpatrick from following up this 2018 vote with showy, but failed efforts in 2019 and 2021 to force this same bill to the House floor.
Most recently, Congressman Fitzpatrick stomped on reproductive freedom with his September 2021 NO vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would have enshrined into law the protections granted by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.
But please don’t think that Fitzpatrick’s anti-choice bona fides are constrained to legislation. He also supports crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). If you are unfamiliar with CPCs, here is how they are described in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics:
“Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that seek to intercept women with unintended pregnancies who might be considering abortion. Their mission is to prevent abortions by persuading women that adoption or parenting is a better option. They strive to give the impression that they are clinical centers, offering legitimate medical services and advice, yet they are exempt from regulatory, licensure, and credentialing oversight that apply to health care facilities. Because the religious ideology of these centers’ owners and employees takes priority over the health and well-being of the women seeking care at these centers, women do not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about all available options.”
Fitzpatrick lauded a local CPC and its “important work,” commending them for the “services to members of our community about maternity care and proper care of their children.” He did so while helping the organization with its annual fundraiser. So, he’s not just a supporter of the concept of CPCs, Brian Fitzpatrick helps them bring in the money they use to keep their doors open.
Congressman Fitzpatrick has shown by his votes and his actions, time and again, that he is virulently anti-choice and out of step with the vast majority of Americans on the issue of reproductive freedom. He is certainly not a moderate on this issue or most others, despite the lengths his communications staff goes to to present him as such. With access to abortion threatened across our state and the entire nation, ask yourself if Bucks County can afford to send another anti-choice, right-wing ideologue to Washington, D.C.
That is exactly what Brian Fitzpatrick is, even if he doesn’t like to admit it.