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Mirror photo of William Kibler Anti-abortion rally organizer Ethan Potter speaks on the microphone as State Representative Lou Schmitt waits to speak outside the Blair County Courthouse on Sunday.

Abortion opponents recently scored a major victory when the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, but that only means that for now the pro-life fight has shifted to the level of the state, according to speakers at an anti-abortion rally Sunday outside the Blair County Courthouse.

“It’s a victory” State Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, said of Roe’s elimination. “(But) it’s also a call to action.”

Ward herself has initiated such action – a proposed constitutional amendment which, if passed by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions and then approved by referendum, would explicitly state that there is no right abortion in the state constitution.

It is part of a package of proposed amendments that have so far been approved by the Senate during the current session.

If it is ultimately approved twice by the General Assembly and then at the polls, it would prevent the courts from striking down any laws restricting abortion in the state, where abortion is currently legal until the end of the day. 24th week of pregnancy.

The amendment would have “ultimately giving power to the legislature” to change the law in the direction of protecting the unborn child, to whom such power belongs, Ward told the approximately 230 attendees.

“This is why your voices and your activism are desperately needed,” she says.

This is also why like-minded people need “to show your strength at the polls”, she added.

But it will be a challenge, according to state Rep. Lou Schmitt, R-Altoona.

The opposition is “already mobilized” said Schmidt. “They will fight back on many fronts,” he said.

Those “foreheads” include Harrisburg, the media and “all the resources at their disposal”, he said.

The pro-life side can’t count “only on the basis of justice”, although justice is on his side, but will have to defend his case vigorously, according to Schmitt.

He’s confident, though, he says.

“We can only fail if we don’t try” he stated.

One day, the children and grandchildren of people loyal to the cause will honor them because when the time comes, “we have not weakened” said Schmidt.

The basis of belief behind the cause is set forth in scripture, according to Pastor Jessica Kilmarton of Center City Church.

“You welded me in my mother’s womb” said Kilmartin, quoting Psalm 139.

The rally was organized by Queen’s Ethan Potter, a 19-year-old student at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

A devout Catholic, Potter is pro-life based on information provided by science, philosophy and theology, he said.

A survey found that 96% of biologists believe life begins at conception – although not all believe unborn babies deserve protection, he said, making the scientific argument.

At conception, an embryo has a unique DNA code, separate from the mother – and is therefore a separate person, which outweighs the pro-choice argument that abortion laws impinge on autonomy mother’s personal life, Potter said, making the philosophical argument.

Then there is Psalm 139, quoted by Jessica Kilmartin, he said, making the theological argument.

One participant, Gerald Mark Waring of Allegheny Township, is aligned with the pro-life cause, but not with some of the other causes that many participants typically support.

How does support for assault weapons, the death penalty, repression of migrants, and a former president who sparked the January 6 insurgency fit with a pro-life perspective? Waring asked rhetorically.

“A serious injustice has been repaired” said State Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Hollidaysburg, of Roe’s elimination. “(And) there are more pro-life victories to come.”

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



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