Bans Off Our Bodies Rally

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Bans Off Our Bodies Rally

Categories: Advocacy

On October 2, 2021, YWCA Tri-County Area and YWCA Lancaster joined forces with many state-wide partners at the Bans of Our Bodies March in Harrisburg, hosted by The Women’s March organization. The rally, held to protest the Texas abortion ban that is the most extreme abortion ban in the country and unconstitutionally bans abortion at six weeks – before many people even know they are pregnant – was one of hundreds planned across the country in a National Day of Mobilization to defend reproductive rights.

Pennsylvania’s women gathered on the Capitol steps to raise their collective voices in protest of state Republican leaders who are attempting to pass similar laws against women in our own backyard. Gathered to listen, learn and stand in solidarity with speakers who shared stories of support, heartache and caution, protesters were reminded of the not so distant past when women lost their lives seeking unsafe, medically unsupported abortions. The deeply personal stories gave pause in the crowd, evoking a heaviness that blanketed us with the realities and emotional burdens so many women bear. We heard from women who never got to meet their grandmothers because they passed seeking non-medical abortions where safe, supported options were not available and from women who lost sisters and friends who, in desperation, made decisions based out of necessity without access to safe, supportive options. We heard from Attorney General Josh Shapiro who assured us he would do everything in his power to protect the constitutional right of women to have autonomy over their lives and bodies. We heard from clergy who reminded us, that extremism in any religion is false and that the safety of a woman’s health and reproductive rights is paramount. I imagine every person gathered at the Capitol steps that morning may have been touched by abortion in some way and that we collectively understand the urgent need to protect the reproductive rights of women, particularly through ensuring the right to access safe and legal abortions. The speeches were powerful, the mission simple: Keep Bans Off Our Bodies! The refrain and sentiment echoed in the streets as we marched heralding the same message.

YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. It is with that dedication that we urge you to stand with us to call out those in power who attempt to place bans on the bodies of women. Black and Brown women will feel the impact of such laws most harshly, as they are the most marginalized among us. All women deserve reproductive rights and access to health care and now is the time to stand against any ban that opposes those rights. We urge you to call your local leaders to oppose any Texas-like laws that are churning here in Pennsylvania.