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As a little girl, Mary Toomey's mother told her she was property, mainly to her father.

At 86, the Mount Wolf resident said the talk not only scared her, but helped shape her identity.

"Women didn't get rights (till) the 20s," she said. "Now government wants to dictate what they do to their bodies."

Toomey was one of nearly 50 people who came out Thursday in the heat to show their support of Planned Parenthood.

The rally, which was held at the Planned Parenthood York Medical Center at 728 S. Beaver St., was meant to draw support for the organization, which has been under criticism nationally for its medical practices.

National debate: In July, anti-abortion activists released an undercover video showing a senior Planned Parenthood official discussing what happens to fetal tissue after a procedure.

The viral video has prompted elected officials in both Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., to propose legislation to defund the group and brought the abortion debate back into the national spotlight.

A sea of pink could be seen along South Beaver Street as those rallying chanted in support.

Across the street, Mary Ann Winters of Springettsbury Township, stood alone with a sign that said "stop abortion."

"I'm not against women's medical rights," she said. "Just against taxpayer money used for abortion."

Allison Meckley, the site director for the York Medical Center for Planned Parenthood, said the organization serves more than 3,000 York County residents a year.

"It's great seeing people out here supporting the great work we do," she said. "We want to continue to be a valued resources for those who need us."

Sari Stevens, executive director for Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, said employees have remained resilient despite the intense scrutiny.

She said public support shows that residents don't want the organization to be defunded.

"And for that we will continue to fight and serve those in need, " she said.

Planned Parenthood has been serving Pennsylvania residents for 90 years and has had a health clinic in York City for the last 50.

To end the rally, supporters were asked to write letters and place them in a box, which will be sent to local leaders.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

— Reach Sara Blumberg at sblumberg@yorkdispatch.com

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