HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Monday, well-over 1,000 pro-life advocates from around the commonwealth gathered for the second annual March for Life outside the State Capitol. According to organizers, it was the first official march of its kind to take place in the country since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
“This is a celebration of life and support of life,” said House Health Committee Chair Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest).
Pro-life advocates like Rapp say this year’s March for Life is significant because it’s the first one of its kind since the overturning of Roe v. Wade and because she believes the turnout sends a strong message just weeks before a crucial election.
“There’s a lot of people who support life versus people who support abortion,” said Rapp. “If you stand for life, vote for the people who support life. If you are for abortion up to birth, and if you want to pay for it as a taxpayer, you have the other choice,” she added.
Rapp serves as co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus and says a recent constitutional amendment that would let voters decide taxpayer-funded elective abortions is the top priority for the Pro-Life Caucus.
“Our Abortion Control Act still stands, unless we change it, but we want to make sure that we get that amendment to the people to vote on,” said Rapp.
Other pro-life lawmakers, including Republican nominee for governor Doug Mastriano, were in attendance outside of the Capitol.
However, inside the Capitol, concerned pro-choice lawmakers discussed efforts to solidify and expand reproductive rights.
“It’s quite shocking to be at the Capitol today, pulling up to the front steps to see them filled with thousands of people here who seek to dehumanize and marginalize 51 percent of our population here in Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester).
Democrats unveiled a four-bill package that would protect the licenses of abortion care providers, protect those seeking an abortion from prosecution, and expand the number of health care providers who may provide an abortion.
“The attacks we’re seeing on reproductive rights from our Republican colleagues is a monumental infringement on the rights of women and birthing people across the commonwealth. We are here today to propose these important bills to protect these crucial rights for the women and birthing people of Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (D-Philadelphia).
“We are working to remove unnecessary barriers to abortion and make sure that seeking legal, safe healthcare is not unnecessarily burdened in Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Emily Kinkead (D-Allegheny). “Democrats are exhausting every possible legislative avenue to solidify reproductive rights in our state. Despite the repulsive attacks elected Republicans launched on bodily autonomy this year, the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians – of Americans – want abortion access to remain safe and legal, and these new bills would ensure that it does, including protecting access to legal care sought by out-of-state residents,” Kinkead added.