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Abortion-rights advocates say voting is key to preserving abortion access in Pennsylvania

Hundreds of people gathered at the City-County in downtown Pittsburgh Friday at a rally opposing the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

People filled the sidewalks, holding signs with slogans such as "Reproductive rights are human rights" and "My body,

my choice."

Abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania, but various political leaders told the crowd that preserving abortion access in the commonwealth was in the hand of voters.

Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled legislature has tried to restrict abortion several times, but Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has blocked those efforts. However, his term ends in January.

"What this court is doing is saying you don't get to decide in one of the most important decisions you get to make," said Democrat Chris Deluzio, who is running against Republican Jeremy Shaffer in the 17th Congressional District. "

Deluzio encouraged the crowd to vote for Democrats in November.

Democratic congressional candidate Summer Lee told the crowd that as a Black woman, her rights have been under attack. She noted the high court's decision particularly impacts women of color, who have higher rates of maternal mortality.

However, Lee told the crowd they “shouldn’t vote blue no matter who." Instead, she advised them to pick candidates who would take actions such as expanding the Supreme Court and abolishing the filibuster.

Allegheny County Councilor Bethany Hallam noted that there recently had been "a lot of heavy days" and invited the crowd to scream with her.

Morgan Overton, a board member for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and a candidate for the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, encouraged the crowd to vote regularly.

“We’re just one election away from the consequences of today becoming the norm," she said.

At a second protest at the City-County Building Friday night, speakers from the Abortion Defense Committee of Pittsburgh pushed back against the earlier calls to vote. Instead, they encouraged people to take action and donate to abortion funds and health clinics that perform abortions.

“State governments — both parties — have taken the right to abortion away from women, away from people, away from anyone that needs it. And we will not stand for it,” said Devon Adwoa, an organizer with the Abortion Defense Committee and Justice for Jim Rogers.

“We recognize that Roe v. Wade and so many other things — Black rights, trans rights, rights for the LGBT community have been won through fighting in the streets, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.”

Adwoa and other organizers led hundreds of people through the streets to protest in support of abortion rights. ” Before returning to the City-County Building, they chanted, “What solution? Revolution,” and “Free, safe and legal."

“[Abortion rights will be won] through fighting,” said Adwoa. “This will be done through action.”

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Julia Zenkevich