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Pro-choice rally held in Harrisburg as abortion debate heats up ahead of primary election

Hundreds of pro-choice demonstrators took to the Capitol Complex Saturday as part of a nationwide movement for reproductive rights.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Capitol steps was covered in signs on Saturday as hundreds of demonstrators came together to show their support for abortion rights.

“Our message is ‘Bans off our bodies,'” said Sam Bobila, chief external affairs officer for Planned Parenthood Keystone.

Saturday’s “pro-choice” rally in Harrisburg was one of more than 450 planned protests nationwide.

The movement, organized by Planned Parenthood, comes in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion which suggests the court’s conservative majority may overturn Roe v. Wade.

“With that leaked opinion, obviously many of us in the reproductive rights movement are very angry and today is all about voicing that anger," said Bobila.

“We are cautiously hopeful that this decision will be rendered basically the way it was in the document that was leaked,” said Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.

Demonstrators were joined by Governor Tom Wolf, who continues to pledge his support for abortion rights.

“Roe v. Wade is under attack and so is the future of our nation," said Governor Wolf.

The Supreme Court leak is pushing the abortion debate into the spotlight ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.

But some demonstrators say it should not be a political issue.

“We should not be voting on medical care being the issue," said Shay Ellis of York County. "So if the Democrats do that, the Republicans do that, that’s inappropriate, that’s not a running issue, it’s healthcare, it’s human lives.”

The Supreme Court is expected to issue their final decision next month.

Pro-life activists remain cautiously optimistic.

“We now know at six weeks an unborn child has a heartbeat and at 15 weeks an unborn child can suck its thumb and feel pain, so I think those unborn children, their voices deserve to be heard in the American democratic process," said Alexis Sneller, communications and policy officer for the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

“This is not about banning things for people’s bodies, this is about protecting the bodies inside of them," said Ciccocioppo.

For those on the pro-choice side, it’s worrisome.

“Overturning 50 years of precedents is incredible dangerous and not just for reproductive rights but it sets the stage for many other civil and social justice rights to be overturned as well," said Bobila.

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