ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A bus stopped in Charlottesville on Thursday morning to pick up residents headed for the Commonwealth for Life Rally at the state capital.
The rally comes after Governor Ralph Northam sparked controversy with comments about third-trimester abortion for women carrying nonviable fetuses, those with such severe deformities that they would be unlikely to survive outside the womb.
A bill by Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran that would reduce the number of doctors required for a third-trimester abortion from three to one and would broaden the maternal health circumstances requirement for a third-trimester abortion further fueled outrage ahead of the rally.
Rally participant Harry Koenig, a practicing Catholic and former Episcopal minister, said he was traveling to Richmond to show support for the helpless.
“The helpless means two people,” Koenig said. “It means the unborn and recently born, and on the other hand, it means mothers who feel alone and without any support."
The bus was carrying 55-people from Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Charlottesville and Zion Crossroads.
More than 1,000 people from across Virginia were expected to attend the 10 a.m. rally.
In response to the rally, Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health of Charlottesville, released the following statement:
Anti-reproductive health extremists will do anything in their power to paint a false, medically inaccurate picture of abortion, and today is no exception. As an abortion provider and strong advocate for reproductive freedom in Virginia, I stand with all women today, including those who have faced difficult decisions about their pregnancies. The reproductive health community across the Commonwealth trusts women and providers, and we will continue to fight fiercely to protect our rights, our health, and the moral center that women have when making personal decisions about their own lives and their own bodies. Women deserve privacy, dignity, and respect—and they deserve to not be used for political gain.