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Photo for the Mirror by Shasta Lanenbacher A crowd gathered to protest the recent U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade Sunday afternoon outside the Blair County Courthouse. Darius Morgan, 1st Vice President of the Blair County NAACP, moderated the event.

HOLLIDAYSBURG — About 175 people gathered for nearly three hours Sunday outside the Blair County Courthouse to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade two days earlier, who withdrew a 49-year-old guarantee that women could have pre-viability abortions.

Already in some states, and potentially as early as next year in Pennsylvania, women may not have access to abortion when pregnancy threatens their life, when the fetus has birth defects, and in cases of rape or incest, because “White man” took control of these issues – after the Roe court gave women the power to decide them in the 1970s, the speakers said.

Supreme Court could pave way for further erosion of rights, including the right to practice contraception and same-sex rights to have sex and marry, based on concurring opinion of Judge Clarence Thomas, speakers said.

It is imperative to support pro-choice Democratic candidates and work to defeat pro-life Republican candidates, including Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator who sponsored an anti-abortion bill like the one he could sign if he became governor, the speakers said. .

“Everything is at stake this year” said rally co-organizer Gillian Kratzer, chairwoman of the Blair County Democratic Committee, who urged attendees to take to the streets, knock on doors and speak to their neighbors in support of Mastriano opponent Josh Shapiro , State Senate candidate Carol Taylor and the State’s 80th District. House candidate Kimberly Capenos. “The only way is to push back” said Kratzer.

“The Republicans have now reached our bedrooms”, said Kate Morris, speaking on behalf of Taylor, who is running against incumbent Judy Ward.

Ward is the primary sponsor of a bill that proposes a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the “right” abortion and ban public funding of abortion in Pennsylvania.

“Judy has to go!” the participants chanted briefly at the mention of the proposed amendment.

If passed in identical form in both houses in two consecutive two-year sessions of the General Assembly, the proposed amendment would be presented to voters in the form of a referendum, bypassing the Governor, thereby providing a means of success against abortion even if the Democrats retain the governorship.

The pro-life cause “discs” his job in the Senate, Ward said Friday.

“I speak and I will not be silent” said Capenos, who is running against pro-life incumbent Jim Gregory. “I will be in front of them again and again and again.”

For pro-life conservatives, “women are baby factories” said the main co-organizer of the rally, Darius Morgan. “It’s crazy,” Morgan said the agenda that Thomas’ recommendations indicate could be on the way.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about that kind of stuff,” said a 13-year-old bisexual girl, from an interracial marriage, who stirred in front of the crowd. “I should have the right to do what I want with my own body.”

Growing up in foster care, there were several siblings who had led difficult lives, a girl named Madison said.

If women are forced to give birth against their will, the reception system will have to accommodate many more such people, she said.

“I don’t want my future to be destroyed and my plans (to be destroyed) because of a life that I don’t want to support and didn’t intend to support,” said Emalie Metrik of Altoona, who will be heading to college in the fall, about the possibility of getting pregnant.

“You can’t hear us, we’ll scream louder” said Erin Pratt, 16, reading a poem inspired by Friday’s decision.

The Supreme Court’s argument to strike down Roe is based on (constitutional) history – history written only by white men, participant Steve Lawson said in a private conversation.

“We are returning to a dangerous place” Lawson’s friend Dennis Page said.

When he was a young man, before Roe, a friend who worked at the Hollidaysburg sewer plant showed him something that appeared in the plant’s intake.

“Parts of the body,” said Page. “Ripped (from a woman’s belly) with a coat hanger.”

There were two counter-protesters, who came separately.

One could be heard beyond the main group and backed off after several protesters approached, after which a protester spoke to him privately for some time.

The other came in the middle of the group and strongly denounced the participants for their support “The American Holocaust”.

People gathered and he put his hand on a man, a former military man, who led him to the sidewalk, according to Morgan.

The man got up and retired, followed by several participants.

“I had to go up and protest” said the man, who identified himself as Gabriel Barber of Hollidaysburg, as he stood on the sidelines of the rally. “Thank God for (Friday’s) decision”.

Betsy Chilcote, a practicing Catholic who had previously told the crowd that she was pro-life for herself but unwilling to judge others for their positions on abortion, stepped up and explained her reasoning at Barber.

Wouldn’t you like to judge the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis? Barbier asked.

In case of abortion, “it’s not my decision” said Chilcote.

She believes that human life begins at conception, but what is right in her eyes may not necessarily be right in the eyes of others, especially when it comes to pregnancy before the fetus is viable, she said. she stated.

She had a daughter who was on life support and whose heart was beating, but no brain activity, and she and her husband “let her go,” said Chilcote.

She has parents who were abused by another parent and could have become pregnant, which would have presented a case that could have required an abortion, she said.

Cases like the one involving loved ones make a person reluctant to judge, Chilcote said.

The Mirror’s staff writer, William Kibler, is at 814-949-7038.



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