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Abortion rights protesters rally at Arizona capitol

KNXV State Capitol Planned Parenthood Pro Abortion Rally.jpeg
Posted at 3:29 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 21:57:55-04

PHOENIX — Scores of pro-abortion rights activists rallied at the state Capitol in Phoenix to protest a new wave of anti-abortion laws being adopted by other states.

Tuesday's rally drew an estimated 200 people, mainly women, plus a handful of anti-abortion protesters.

Many protesting the new laws held signs backing rights of women to seek an abortion or warning of the ramifications of banning the procedure.

"We have a hostile government toward women and their reproductive rights," Arizona State Representative Athena Salman, a Democrat, said.

Arizona has a law on the books that bans abortions, either performing or having one, with the exception of saving the mother's life. The Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade protects women and doctors from breaking that law. But because of the recent bans across the country, Rep. Salman says she fears it could be overturned.

"This could me immediate jail time for women and their doctors," she said.

Rep. Salman says she's introduced bills to get that ban off the books, but they've all failed. Those against abortions say they want it re-enacted.

"We shouldn't be punishing the child, we should be punishing the criminal," Lashae Walker, a pro-life advocate, said.

Legal experts say if that Supreme Court Decision was overturned, an abortion ban would go into place immediately in Arizona. But there could be some pushback as to whether doctors and patients would actually be prosecuted. They say attorneys would need to present a strong enough case, judges may be hesitant about taking them and they may have trouble finding an unbiased jury.

The rally was one of many held across the nation to protest new state laws targeting abortion rights have been enacted this year. They range from an outright ban in Alabama to bans on abortion after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.