Anti-abortion activists flood Harrisburg for first Walk for Life in Pennsylvania
As the Republican-controlled legislature resumed its sessions on Monday, hundreds of anti-abortion protesters gathered in Harrisburg for the first Walk for Life in Pennsylvania.
“We are pro-life,” said Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, leading at least a thousand participants in a chant on the steps of the Capitol. “We are pro-life. We are pro-life.
The Walk for life movement began in response to the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in all 50 states. And with a slew of laws to restrict access to abortion sitting in the Pennsylvania Legislature, Monday’s event – hosted in part with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, targeted lawmakers who oppose legislation that would limit abortion rights.
“I can confidently say that something that came out of the last year is more energy, more passion and drive from pro-life supporters,” said Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster. “Witnessing that the world is adapting and responding to the challenges of a global pandemic and taking action to protect our own loved ones has given a generation of Americans a new perspective on what the right to life really is. “
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed Down syndrome abortion ban and one invoice regulating the disposal of fetal remains. They are currently in the State Senate, awaiting a floor vote. Ward, who controls the upper house’s voting schedule, told reporters this month she had not discussed “one of these bills being on the agenda. “
But on Monday, joined by a dozen legislative Republicans and chamber heads, Ward reiterated his support for restricting abortion rights in the Commonwealth and condemned court challenges to protect access to abortion in Pennsylvania .
“As the leader of the majority, I stand with all of you on the side of life,” she told the cheering crowd.
House Republicans have proposed new restrictions on abortion providers, including a bill to require that the fetuses receive pain relievers before an abortion. A similar law in Utah has puzzled doctors, who say it is confusing to implement and is not backed by science.
Senator Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, is the presenting sponsor of a invoice that would ban abortion as early as six weeks, which is before most people know they are pregnant. These bills are often referred to as “heartbeat” bills, but medical experts say the term is misleading because an embryo does not yet have a developed heart at six weeks gestation, the Texas Tribune reported.
State Representative Stephanie Borowicz R-Clinton has repeatedly introduced an identical bill in the House. The two lawmakers were in attendance on Monday, praying with participants in the March on the Capitol ahead of the event.
Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat whose term ends in 2023, has vetoed a 20 weeks abortion ban in 2017 and a bill prohibiting abortion in cases of in utero diagnosis of Down syndrome in 2019. He and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate, have pledged to protect abortion rights in Pennsylvania.
“I remain firmly convinced that so-called ‘pro-life’ policies are in fact anti-choice and contradict the notion of individual freedom and lack a solid scientific basis,” Wolf said in a statement earlier this month.
On Monday, Wolf called the march “just an anti-women rally under a different name.”
“They want to remove health care options during pregnancy – a time when so many people already cannot access life-saving care,” he tweeted, again vowing to veto what he called the legislation “anti-choice”.
Today’s Harrisburg “March for Life” is just an anti-woman rally under a different name.
They want to cut health care options during pregnancy – a time when so many people already cannot access life-saving care.
I vetoed 3 anti-choice bills. I will veto anyone who comes to me.
– Governor Tom Wolf (@GouverneurTomWolf) September 27, 2021
After the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature passed a law banning abortion after about six weeks pregnant, Shapiro filed a brief friend to support the challenge of the ban by the US Department of Justice.
“Texas law defies the constitution by attacking women’s rights and poses a threat to all American women,” he said in a statement. “It encourages people to go out and sue their neighbors – or even complete strangers – for health decisions they don’t have to intervene with.”