Thousands Gather at Pennsylvanian State Capitol for ‘March for Life’ Rally

HARRISBURG, Pa.—Thousands of pro-life activists and supporters from across Pennsylvania converged on the State Capitol for the second annual March for Life rally on Monday, advocating for state laws that reflect pro-life policies in relation to abortion.

The march was the first of its type in the capital city since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

March for Life partnered with the Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Family Institute to organize the event. The activities occurred on the first day that the Pennsylvania House and Senate were back in session.

“There’s such power in rallying the grassroots,” said Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life. “We know that we can change hearts and minds and impact legislation. So that’s what we’re doing at the state level here in Harrisburg.”

Mancini estimated that more than 5,000 pro-life supporters were in attendance.

Pro-life supporters gather for a “March for Life” rally at Pennsylvanian State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Sept. 19, 2022. (Frank Liang/The Epoch Times)
Pro-life supporters gather for a “March for Life” rally at Pennsylvanian State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Sept. 19, 2022. (Frank Liang/The Epoch Times)

Among the speakers who addressed the crowd were state Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, (R-Westmoreland); Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster); state Senator Judy Ward, (R-Blair); Ann McElhinney, a best-selling author, director, and movie producer; Dr. Monique Ruberu, a pro-life obstetrician; and Kathy Barnette, author, veteran, and spokesperson for 1776 Action.

Elected Officials Offer Support

With signs and banners, the crowd showed support for the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, which returned governance of the abortion issue back to the states. The politicians who attended the rally also voiced approval for the decision.

“We cannot take our momentum for granted. This is not a time to let up,” said House Speaker Cutler on the stage. “In the next several months, the men, 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 will ever have the opportunity to make.”

Congressman Fred Keller, (R-Pa.) said in an interview, “I came here because life is so important. And we need to stand up and defend life. Because if you have people in government that aren’t willing to protect your life, they’re not going to protect any of your rights or anything of yours.”

Congressman Fred Keller, (R-Pa.) at the “March for Life” rally on Sept. 19, 2022. (Serena Shi/The Epoch Times)

Keller said he wears a “feet pin,” which depicts a baby’s feet at ten weeks of pregnancy “because if we’re not going to have life, we don’t have anything.”

“I think it’s important that we around all 50 states and District of Columbia stand for life so that we have the best pro-life laws in the world,” said Keller.

Abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania up to the 24th week of pregnancy. The speakers at the rally encouraged people to vote for anti-abortion candidates this November, including Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.

“In Pennsylvania, 18 percent of our population is made up of African Americans and Latino. That population tragically makes up more than half of the abortions,” said Mastriano. “This is a genocide. We need to choose life.”

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano (middle) at the “March for Life” rally on Sept. 19, 2022. (Frank Liang/The Epoch Times)

He also said, “This culture of death needs to end, so let’s stand on the side of life. Let’s choose the baby’s life.”

Mastriano’s opponent Democrat Josh Shapiro has said that he will veto any bills limiting abortion that passed his desk should he become governor.

“I tell people to be very, very careful about the upcoming election,” said state Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna). “Know the candidates; know who you’re voting for if you want to see Pennsylvania [on] the right place on life.”

“We want to make sure that we’re standing strong for life,” said Pickett.

State Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) at the “March for Life” rally on Sept. 19, 2022. (Serena Shi/The Epoch Times)

Goal to Make ‘Abortion Unthinkable in the US’

The overturning of Roe v. Wade ended federal governance of abortion. The decision allows freedom at the state level to enact pro-life legislation, but it did not make abortion illegal in the country.

“The March for Life is working for the day when abortion is unthinkable in the U.S.,” said Mancini.

Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, speaks at the “March for Life” rally on Sept. 19, 2022. (Frank Liang/The Epoch Times)

She said the biggest challenge is “the lie that abortion is good for women,” and they are “trying to show the truth that women deserve so much better and that we can work to protect moms and babies in the womb.”

“But even more importantly, culture is upstream of politics, and we work to change hearts and minds,” said Mancini.

Bob Wert, a financial adviser, from Reading, Pa., had similar comments. “We want people to vote for life to restrict abortion and make it unthinkable,” Wert said.

“And we want people to understand that they have an influence. They have the ability to change policy by being out here and doing things like this,” he said.

Among the attendees was Claire Troll, a high school student from Somerset, Pa., who said she felt lucky to be alive because her father was not aborted. “My dad was adopted,” said Troll. “You know, his mom had the choice to abort him. But then none of my other six or five siblings would have been born, and neither would have I and his two nephews.”

Greg Engelmeyer, director of Sidewalk Advocates for Life Pittsburgh, said “We’re not judgmental. We don’t condemn. We’re not violent or loud or angry. But we’re trying to let young couples know, men and women because men are victims too, that they can choose life. And there are all kinds of help available.”

Engelmeyer said he had talked to many women and men after abortions, and “they’re so regretful, so sorrowful, and it hangs with them forever.”

“There’s so much help available, many organizations, and many communities that will help with love. That’s what we do,” he added.

Epoch Times reporter Serena Shi contributed to this report.



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