Hundreds attend “Stop the Bans” rally for abortion access at Capitol

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MADISON (WKOW) — After controversial abortion legislation has passed across the country, cities have responded with rallies demanding states “stop the bans.” Wisconsin has already seen rallies in Appleton, Milwaukee and Oshkosh and on Thursday hundreds came to the state Capitol in Madison to continue the message.

That message could be summed up with the chant they used to open the rally, “my body, my choice.”

Katie Wade, the Wisconsin organizer for the national organization #Fight4HER, helped put together the rally. She said their primary goal was to show lawmakers in Wisconsin and around the country just how many people support access to safe and healthy abortions.

“We know the majority of people and the majority of Wisconsinites want abortion to stay legal,” Wade said. “We want to make sure that we are fighting back and taking a real strong stand for reproductive health and rights for both here and nationally and abroad.”

With hundreds gathered on the steps, Wade was confident that message came across, though the rally also attracted opponents.

Anne Franczek said she drove to the rally from Milwaukee to be a part of the debate. She believes abortion should never be an option.

“That baby is precious,” she said. “It’s made in God’s image. It has a heartbeat at three weeks, brainwaves at six weeks. It’s a little individual soul.”

Franczek was one of about a half dozen pro-life protesters who came out to the rally. She said she knew they would be outnumbered but they had to make an effort.

“We may not make much of a difference but I just hope that people remember that Jesus died on the cross for our sins because we’re all sinners,” she said.

Some of the more outspoken counter-protesters lead to confrontations between themselves and rally-goers leading police to intervene. None of the confrontations escalated to violence.

As for the people who attended the rally, some like Sara Williams said the recent legislation limiting abortion access feels personal.

“I’ve been pro-choice since 1969 when I was a student nurse in New York and I cared for a woman who died of an infection following an illegal abortion,” she said. “I’ve never forgotten those women.”

That was before Roe v. Wade and Williams said she’s afraid women who feel they have no other option will face similar fates if the decision is reversed.

“Women will get abortions regardless of whether they’re safe and legal,” she said.

As the rally came to an end, protesters on both sides said they plan to continue advocating what they believe is the right way to deal with unwanted pregnancies.

Here in Wisconsin, the Senate is taking up the issue of abortion as it considers the controversial born alive bill. It would require doctors to provide care to baby who survives an abortion. It’s already passed the Assembly. The governor has said he plans to veto the bill if it gets to his desk.

Michelle Alfini

Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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