Competing rallies held in Raleigh over abortion rights

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators held competing rallies in Raleigh Saturday afternoon, just ahead of the 46th anniversary of Roe V. Wade.

The landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973 has been the subject of intense debate for decades.

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"Even though it might be inconvenient to the person who is pregnant, there are other options. I know it's very difficult, but there are other organizations, pro-life organizations that will help the mom," said Patti Chapman, a pro-life activist from Cary.

Pro-life supporters took part in the annual Rally and March for Life, moving through downtown before gathering on Halifax Mall where several speakers addressed the crowd.

Among those in attendance were lawmakers trying to affect change in the General Assembly, including state senator Joyce Krawiec, who represents District 31 .

She was part of a trio of legislators behind Senate Bill 425, which would have banned a certain method of abortion. The proposal failed to move forward, though Krawiec believes it was due to timing rather than a lack of support. She plans on refiling the legislation during the upcoming sessions.

"It's worth the battle. It's worth the battle, I have no doubts about taking that battle. That's one I'm proud to fight," said Krawiec.

It's legislation that will meet resistance from activists like Kelsea McLain, from A Women's Choice Inc. They were one of several pro-choice groups that hosted a counter-protest.

"We're not just fighting to maintain the laws that we have, but we're really hoping to push forward proactive legislation that will actually codify and respect abortion rights," McLain said.

One of their points of emphasis was a state law requiring a mandatory 72-hour waiting period after seeking an abortion.

"Forcing someone to wait 72 hours is honestly just cruel. It's not respecting that they can make their own healthcare decisions and choices. It kind of infantilizes women and treats us like we aren't smart enough or capable enough of making our own decisions," said McLain.

According to The Guttmacher Institute, a research organization which pushes for greater abortion access, North Carolina is one of five states with a 72-hour waiting period, although 27 total states have mandatory waiting periods.

McLain also noted women in rural areas of the state had to travel far distances in order to receive medical care; The Guttmatcher Institute reports 53 percent of women in North Carolina live in counties without an abortion clinic.
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