HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Monday, dozens of abortion rights advocates took to the State Capitol with just 15 days until the general election. High-profile races in Pennsylvania, specifically the race for governor, could shape the future of abortion access in the commonwealth. Advocates and Democratic lawmakers are looking to mobilize voters, especially women, ahead of Nov. 8.
“Abortion is a normal, safe, routine part of pregnancy care,” said Debasri Ghosh with the National Network of Abortion Funds.
“Our goal is to make sure that no one forgets that abortion rights are human rights and abortion care is health care,” said State Representative Elizabeth Fiedler (D-Philadelphia).
Rep. Fiedler says she, like many women, were upset by the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which had protected abortion access nationwide for decades.
“It was an assurance on the books that no matter what state you lived in, your body’s birthing abilities would not be used to limit your freedom,” said Fiedler.
Additionally, a rally to protect reproductive health care for victims of sexual assault, took place inside the Capitol this morning.
“Here we are in 2022 with less rights than our mothers,” said Suzanne Beck, CEO of the Victims Resource Center.
Beck says victims of sexual assault deserve the right to choose what’s best for them.
“It’s important for victims to have choices and particularly empowering victims and victims’ rights. So many times, when individuals are victimized, their choices are taken away from them,” said Beck. “Nobody plans to be a crime victim, and it’s something that nobody really wants to have happen in their lives, so when it does happen to individuals, it’s important for them to have all of those options available to them,” she added.
“So, if we’re talking about a pregnancy that results from a sexual assault, what those options are, whether they be to keep that pregnancy or to terminate that pregnancy, that choice should be up to the individual,” said Beck.
Advocates say the right to choose, even for sexual assault victims, can depend on the outcome of this year’s election.
“We believe that each of us should have the freedom to decide what’s best for us,” said Rep. Fiedler.
But the views expressed by abortion rights advocates today indicate a stark contrast from many Republicans, who hold the majority in the General Assembly, and pro-life advocates who rallied at the Capitol last month.
“Well, I hate to break to those against us, but protecting and cherishing life will never be out of touch,” said House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) at the March for Life Rally in September. “This is not a time to let up. In the next several months, the men and the women on this stage, those in Washington will likely find ourselves in some of the most important pro-life debates and votes that we likely will ever have the opportunity to make,” he added.
House Republicans have consistently stated they are prepared to move forward with pro-life legislation. Whether the legislation will be signed into law or vetoed will likely depend on the next governor.