HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Since the leaked opinion from the Supreme Court, pro-choice advocates have been protesting and rallying around the country.
“This whole week, week and a half, women have been out there making their voices heard,” said Carroll Truran, a volunteer with Lancaster Stands Up and Bold Action Works.
In Harrisburg, protesters don’t plan to quit fighting any time soon.
“We need to keep fighting,” said Teresa Caruthers, a participant with Lancaster Stands Up.
“Don’t stop protesting. Don’t stop speaking up. And don’t stop calling your elected officials because you can make a difference,” said Meg Macfarlane, a member of Lancaster Stands Up and Bold Action Works.
Their message is clear.
“Vote at the primary. And vote for our Democratic leaders,” said Truran.
With the U.S. Senate falling short to codify Roe v. Wade earlier this week, the battle over abortion would shift from Washington, D.C. to Harrisburg, if the case is overturned. Meaning individual states would determine the future of abortion access, giving state lawmakers and especially the governor, the ultimate say. The issue is shifting the spotlight even more on this year’s election.
“It’s very significant when we have one candidate saying it’s about health care. Health care is about preventive medicine, keeping people well, keeping you alive. It’s not about destroying a life,” said State Representative Kathy Rapp, who also chairs the House Health Committee.
The House Health Committee maintains legislative oversight over abortion, abortion facilities and teen pregnancy policies.
Rapp says the General Assembly is well positioned to pass legislation restricting abortions if a pro-life governor is elected. Legislation like the heartbeat bill, and others could be in play depending on the outcome of the gubernatorial election. State Republican lawmakers have pushed several pro-life measures in the current session, and previous sessions, however Gov. Wolf has vetoed three of those bills since taking office.
“All of those bills could be in play again,” said Rapp. “I’m very hopeful that we will pass something. But what the final language is, I can’t say at this point in time” she added.
Rapp says there is another route being taken by some of her pro-life colleagues. It’s a route that they plan to take if a pro-choice governor is elected.
“That is the constitutional amendment that would bypass the governor. We would have to pass that constitutional amendment in two sessions and then it goes directly to the people,” said Rapp. “The people of Pennsylvania would decide.”
The pieces of legislation to restrict abortion via constitutional amendment are SB 956 and HB 2252.
Rapp says if there are pro-life bills that become law, she and her colleagues must work to provide support for women who find themselves in a difficult situation.
“I think pro-life Republicans like myself, need to be able to say and need to be able to put our money where our mouth is, that we need to put up more financial support and emotional support for women who find themselves in these predicaments. We want them to keep their child,” said Rapp. “We need to stress to these mothers that there is support.”
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