Chanting slogans and holding up signs that read, "I'm Pro-Choice and I Vote," the activists tried to rally support for candidates in next month's state elections who support abortion rights. Behind the abortion rights activists were approximately 20 people who were quietly demonstrating against legalized abortion. Only about five students went to yesterday's rally. Last year, approximately 90 University students attended a similar Harrisburg event. College senior Jane Miller, co-coordinator of Penn Students for Choice, said last night that she expected more students to come. Republican gubernatorial candidate Barbara Hafer -- who will oppose Democratic incumbent Robert Casey this November -- joined speakers from national abortion rights groups in encouraging ralliers to lobby against restrictive legislation. Other candidates who support abortion rights, including Allen Polsky (D-Delaware County), mingled with ralliers. Polsky, who spoke at the University last month, is running for election in the district now represented by Republican Stephen Freind, an outspoken opponent of legalized abortion. In August, Pennsylvania state courts found the 1989 Abortion Control Act -- previously the second most restrictive legislation against abortion in the country -- unconstitutional. Lobbyists against legal abortion are appealing the decision, and the case is expected to go to the U.S. Supreme Court by 1992. The act, which is no longer in effect, required that women under 18 obtain parental consent before receiving abortion; that any women requesting an abortion attend a counseling session with a physician; that there be a mandatory 24-hour waiting period following counseling; that a woman's spouse be notified before the woman gets an abortion; that abortions not be used to select the sex of the fetus; and that all abortions be prohibited after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Although the court struck down the act, activists in favor of abortion rights fear that equally restrictive abortion legislation will be passed unless their candidates are voted into office. After the hour-long rally in the rotunda, ralliers dispersed to lobby their representatives for support. Miller said that the current legislators representing the University's district all support abortion rights. "We just stopped by their offices to let them know that we're happy with what they've been doing and that we're behind them," she said, adding that candidates' position on abortion will determine how she will vote in this election.Comments powered by Disqus
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