Anti-abortion activists from across the region gathered at Cornerstone Ministries in Murrysville on Wednesday as Vice President Mike Pence addressed the launch of Susan B. Anthony List’s campaign to engage pro-life voters in Pennsylvania.
The visit to the large non-denominational church marked Pence’s third appearance with the group. A longtime favorite of evangelicals and pro-life voters for his anti-abortion stance, Pence previously addressed Susan B. Anthony List rallies in Florida and North Carolina.
Addressing the home crowd in a so-called fireside chat from a stage set up to mimic a living room setting, Pence thanked them for working to support pro-life initiatives and slammed the Democratic presidential ticket .
“Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support a party that stands for abortion right up to the moment of birth. … They support people who will legislate from the bench rather than preserving our most cherished values,” Pence charged.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List and author of ‘Life Is Winning,’ said the group plans to spend about $52 million nationwide in its quest to elect pro-life candidates this year. with the ultimate goal of overturning the 1973 benchmark. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
The group has committed about $1.5 million to its efforts in Pennsylvania, she said. The effort here includes a series of newspaper ads across the state as well as a goal of knocking on 175,000 doors.
“We’re here because that’s where pro-life voters are influenced by the pro-life coalition,” Dannenfelser said. She said President Trump and Pence had delivered on their promise to appoint pro-life judges who could ultimately achieve the group’s goals.
Emily Callen, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, criticized the Trump administration for what she called its efforts to limit sexual and reproductive health care. She said Planned Parenthood is also running a seven-figure voter engagement campaign around reproductive health issues in Pennsylvania.
Their campaigns come as abortion in Pennsylvania and across the country has fallen to its lowest level in 40 years.
The most recent figures available show that the abortion rate for women aged 15 to 44 in Pennsylvania fell to 11.8 per 1,000 women in 2017, about half the 1980 abortion rate of 23 .1 per 1,000 women in this age group.
Pro-life activists were part of the coalition of blue-collar, evangelicals and disgruntled voters from rural and suburban counties — including Westmoreland, where Trump won by a 2-1 margin over Hillary Clinton — that pushed Trump to a 44,000-vote victory in Pennsylvania in 2016. Those margins helped him defeat voters in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties — the state’s largest districts, who opted for Clinton.
The Cornerstone event which attracted several hundred pro-life activists including US Representatives Mike Kelly, R-Butler, and John Joyce, R-Blair, was by invitation.
Leaving for a “Workers for Trump” rally in Beaver County, Pence said pro-life activists must continue their efforts at the ballot box.
“We still have work to do,” Pence said.
He cited the Supreme Court’s failure to uphold Louisiana law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
“That leads me to believe that we need more conservatives on the Supreme Court,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd.
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