Hundreds attend ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ rally in Harrisburg

Hundreds of lawyers took to the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol on Saturday, reacting to a leaked draft opinion showing the US Supreme Court is apparently set to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

With “prohibition of our bodiesAs a rallying cry, organizers and lawmakers urged Pennsylvanians to voice their opposition to a series of abortion restriction proposals circulating in the Republican-controlled General Assembly and vote in the current election cycle.

“I’ve taken it for granted all my life that women should have choice about their reproductive health,” Cheryl Tierney, 51, a pediatrician at Penn State Health, told the Capital-Star.

And if the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision, Pennsylvania could enact legislation limiting access to abortion throughout the Commonwealth.

“Generations before us have fought tirelessly to win and protect the rights we have today,” Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates executive director Signe Espinoza said to an angry crowd. , frustration and fear of what might happen if access to abortion were restricted.

Governor Tom Wolf, Democrat and former Volunteer for family planning, vetoed three proposals and vowed to block future legislation restricting the procedure while in office. But as the governor prepares to step down in January 2023, existing abortion regulations could tighten if a Republican is elected governor in the November general election.

“If the Supreme Court adopts this decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it will jeopardize the right of every American — every American — to make their own private medical decisions,” Wolf said, describing the leaked draft opinion as a punch”.

Although the leaked draft notice does not change current Pennsylvania law, Wolf warned protesters about what could happen if the case is overturned.

“That’s no excuse for complacency,” he said. “It will be a fight.”

Thirteen states have passed so-called trigger laws, which would ban abortions if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Pennsylvania is not among them, but all nine GOP gubernatorial candidates have called for additional restrictions on abortion. At least five said they would support a complete ban on the proceedings with no exceptions for rape, incest or health risks.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s only Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has vowed to veto any legislation restricting access to abortion.

Harrisburg Republicans wrote legislation which would impose a ban on abortion once cardiac activity is detected. They wrote a invoice to prohibit the procedure after a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Last year, Senator Judy Ward, R-Blair, introduced a proposed constitutional amendment, which the governor cannot veto. If approved by voters, he would update the state’s guiding document to declare that there is no constitutional right to abortion or public funding for the procedure.

Organizers urged attendees to contact Ward and the proposed amendment’s co-sponsors, urging them to vote against the legislation passing the General Assembly. They also encouraged people to share their abortion stories and donate to an abortion fund.

When she took to the podium, Dr. Sarah Horvath, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Keystone, was wearing her white lab coat and a purple superhero armband – a gift from her four-year-old daughter. As someone who has administered abortions for more than a decade, Horvath said he heard countless stories from his patients, who shared their traumas and struggles.

Some tell Horvath about abusive partners or rapes. Others say their partners are sick, away, or got someone else pregnant at the same time. Patients report that they have finally returned to school or are about to graduate. Some work three jobs to get by; others are caring for three children and cannot afford another.

“And I’ve had patients who haven’t shared their stories because they don’t want to because they don’t have to,” Horvath said. “Abortion is personal because you don’t have to prove to me or anyone else that you need an abortion. Abortion is personal. Abortion is the Abortion is freedom, and abortion is health care.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress and wife of State Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, said Planned Parenthood takes care of communities.

“No matter what you believe, I believe it’s my body. It’s my choice. No one else should have the right to tell me what to do with my own body,” Ralph said, adding, ” No more wire hangers. We have work to do.

Hundreds of protesters gather in Harrisburg on Saturday, May 14, 2022 to promote access to abortion. (Capital-Star photo by Marley Parish)

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