'Stop the Bans' rallies held in Philadelphia, across U.S.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Groups across the country were holding rallies Tuesday in support of "Stop the Bans" Day of Action.

They were protesting the wave of recent abortion bans.

"I had a child and gave it up for adoption rather than abortion, that's my choice, okay that's the point," said protester Marie Conti.

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania organized one rally at Broad and Locust streets in Center City Philadelphia.

The protest started around noon and continued to grow. The line almost reached City Hall.

"It really makes me feel like there's a sense of hope," said demonstrator Jean Wintzdabney.

The demonstrators said they were protesting the "rash of extreme abortion bans sweeping the country."

Alabama recently enacted the nation's strictest abortion law, making performing abortions a felony at any stage of pregnancy with almost no exceptions.

Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have passed laws that prohibit abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. Missouri and Louisiana are close to enacting similar bans.

Rose and Jim Rauschkolb say they stand with states working to enact abortion bans.

"I just don't understand how this ever came about. It's abnormal," Jim Rauschkolb said. "I don't understand the thinking at all, how can you kill a baby?" Rose Rauschkolb added.

Some anti-abortion supporters, like the Sidewalk Servants of Philadelphia, say as polarizing as the debate may be at least people are now educating themselves so they can make their own informed decision.

"It is an opportunity for people who maybe have not thought through this issues or engaged can really think deeply about it and hopefully take a stand for life," said Sidewalk Servant Volunteer Ashley Garecht.

None of the laws has taken effect, and all are expected to be blocked while legal challenges work their way through the courts.

Some lawmakers hope two new conservative justices nominated by President Donald Trump will provide the votes for the Supreme Court to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
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