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Abortion Rights Supporters Rally In St. Paul

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) --  The national debate over abortion rights is coming to a boiling point in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, thousands of pro-choice supporters rallied at the state capitol to let their voices be heard.

Eight states so far this year have passed laws limiting abortion rights.

Alabama's goes the farthest, while five other states passed so-called heartbeat bills that ban abortions after six to eight weeks of pregnancy.

Nationally, most voters believe abortion should be available.

And as WCCO's Esme Murphy reports, the issue is emotional on both sides.

"We know our bodies, we know our minds, we know what is best for our future," said Rep. Erin Maye Quade. "So to those people, we say no more."

The solidarity at the state capitol Tuesday morning was briefly interrupted by a small group of counter-protestors. But the opposition voices were quickly drowned out.

"I just think it is really wrong that people shouldn't have the choice to their own body and we should take away birth control that saves peoples lives every day," said Sophie Kibiger, an abortion rights supporter.

A group of middle schoolers from St. Paul were seen dressed in Handmaids Tale costumes.

"It just hurts that our own rights are being taken away from us," said eighth-grader Olivia Miller.

But anti-abortion supporters say they are encouraged by the development in Alabama and other states and say they will continue to push for more restrictive abortion laws here.

Republican State Rep. Tim Miller of Prinsburg introduced a bill similar to the Alabama ban in the legislative session. It didn't come close to passing, but he says he will introduce it again.

"I have been a very strong pro-life defender, defender of life advocate and I think the conversations are beginning to change towards what we need to discuss and what we need to look at," said Rep. Miller

But at the local Planned Parenthood headquarters, there has been a wave of support.

"People who support women's health and safety should be very concerned about what's happening in all of the states," said Sarah Stoesz, President of Planned Parenthood Minnesota Action Fund. "We have seen an outpouring of energy among people who see that they may have a moment to overturn Roe vs Wade which has been in effect for over 46 years."

Planned Parenthood here says it is fielding calls from women in other states to see if Minnesota clinics can provide abortions for them.

Planned Parenthood says their answer to that is yes.


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