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Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.

In today’s Quickie: PA Senate candidate OZ says “local political leaders” should decide on abortion, GA abortion providers urge court to block 6-week ban, PA Supreme Court hears case on abortion coverage under Medicaid, and featuring the state races that impact abortion access!

OZ SAYS ABORTION DECISION SHOULD INCLUDE “LOCAL POLITICAL LEADERS”: In the only debate of Pennsylvania’s election for U.S. Senate, Mehmet Oz made clear his stance on abortion: he believes that abortion should be a decision between “women, doctors, and local political leaders.”  

In the debate, he continued  to dodge accountability for his anti-abortion position, also declining three times to answer whether he would vote for a national abortion ban.

@ppact on Twitter, @patdennis on Twitter

Let’s be clear: politicians, whether in the state house or in the U.S. Capitol, do not belong in our exam rooms. The only candidate on the stage last night who truly believes that was John Fetterman, who boldly proclaimed his support for abortion rights, saying, 

“I believe abortion rights [are] a universal right for all women in America. I believe abortion is health care, and I believe that is a choice that belongs with each woman and her doctor.” 

In a statement, Fetterman’s campaign slammed Oz’s remarks, and pledged to make sure “as many women as possible'' hear that Oz wants local politicians involved in decisions that should be theirs alone. 

Read more from Jezebel and Axios, and watch the remarks from Oz here

GA ABORTION PROVIDERS URGE COURT TO BLOCK SIX-WEEK ABORTION BAN AT TRIAL: This week, Georgia abortion providers and advocates, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Planned Parenthood Southeast, went to trial before the Superior Court of Fulton County, seeking to block the state’s ban on abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy. The state court challenge, SisterSong v. State of Georgia, was filed in July, shortly after a federal appeals court lifted an injunction against the ban (H.B. 481), allowing it to take effect for the first time since it was signed into law in 2019. The lawsuit asserts not only that the Georgia Constitution contains strong protections for individual privacy and prohibits political interference in pregnancy decisions, but that the law was void under the federal Constitution when enacted in 2019. 

“For over three months now, Georgians have had to suffer the consequences of this devastating abortion ban, living with fewer rights than Americans in other states,” PPFA President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said. “This unconstitutional abortion ban has forced people beyond the earliest stages of pregnancy to find the resources to flee their state for care or continue pregnancies against their will. Like all abortion restrictions, Georgia’s ban has disproportionately harmed communities that already face barriers to health care: Black, Indigenous, and people of color; people with low incomes; and those who live in rural communities. We have asked the court to end this state-inflicted trauma so that providers in Georgia can care for the patients who need them. Planned Parenthood and our partners will continue the fight to restore abortion rights in Georgia, no matter what.”

See PPFA’s full release here and read more AP

TODAY AT 12PM: PRESS CONFERENCE ON PA SUPREME COURT CASE ON ABORTION COVERAGE IN MEDICAID: Today, the Women’s Law Project will host a virtual press conference after oral arguments are presented at Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The plaintiffs, a group of abortion providers that provide the majority of abortion care in Pennsylvania, are challenging the state statute that bans abortion coverage through the Pennsylvania Medicaid program, arguing reproductive rights are protected by the state’s constitution.  

Arguments in Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services were scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. EST today. Audio will be live-streamed here. 

The press conference will take place at 12 p.m. EST today or if arguments run longer than expected, the conference will begin a half hour after the arguments end. Register to attend the Zoom here

Additional background can be found here. Litigation documents can be reviewed here

KEY STATE RACES THAT COULD IMPACT ABORTION ACCESS: All eyes are on a handful of key state races this midterm election cycle, as their outcome may decide whether abortion remains legal in the state by shifting the balance of power in state governments. The Hill recently published a deep dive into these state races, which include: Pennsylvania, where reproductive rights champion Josh Shapiro is up against extreme, anti-abortion zealot Doug Mastriano in the governor’s race; Wisconsin, which has a pre-Roe ban on the books and a Republican-led state legislature, as well as a Democratic governor and attorney general (Tony Evers and Josh Kaul, respectively) facing re-election; North Carolina, where Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is the only roadblock stopping Republicans in the state legislature from banning abortion, a roadblock that could be removed if Republicans achieve a veto-proof majority. Ianthe Metzger, director of state advocacy communications at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, shared her perspective throughout the article on how these races will affect abortion access. 

Read more here.