'Stop the Ban' rally in Raleigh draws large crowd of abortion rights supporters

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Just inside the Beltline in this understated Raleigh office park, abortion rights supporters gathered outside a clinic called A Woman's Choice.

Abortions are provided here, and the supporters attending this rally want to make sure it stays that way.

They were fighting against the nationwide wave of anti-abortion laws.

"We will stand together, raise our voices to say stop the bans on abortion," Molly Rivera told the crowd. She was one of many speakers on a slate of abortion rights activists protesting against the laws passed in several states severely restricting abortion.

Kelci McClain shared her personal story of ending a pregnancy.

"I had an abortion in 2016 in this state," McClain said. She now works at the clinic and was watching closely as Alabama lawmakers banned nearly all abortions.

Missouri passed a ban at eight weeks, while Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio passed bans after heart activity can be detected which occurs around six weeks, which is before many women know they're pregnant.

"The reality is providers like ours are going to get shutdown if these laws are passed. And that's why we need to stand up and support our providers," McClain said.

Lisa Zerden's husband is one of those abortion providers they are fighting to defend. He's a local obstetrician.

"Women are smart. Women know what they want," Zerdan said. It was a message she is trying to pass on to her 11-year old daughter, Ellie, who she brought along to the rally.

The fifth grader telling us, "I think what I heard today is very important. These things really matter. Because women have rights and its important to support that."

On the fringe of the Raleigh rally, one anti-abortion protester quietly demonstrated. Meanwhile, national groups showed their opposition to the rallies across the country.

Right to Life posted a picture on Twitter of an unborn fetus and captioned: "Every life is valuable." And the Pro Life Action League tweeted, "Stop the bans? No. Keep them coming."

Back in Raleigh, the Stop the Ban rally was a mix of moms, dads, 20-somethings and grandparents too. And of course 11-year old Ellie.

ABC11 asked her mom what she'd say to anyone who questioned whether it's an appropriate event for a pre-teen.

"I do have two smaller children and decided to leave them at home but Ellie is mature enough and responsible enough to know what's happening," Zerden said. "And I think it's important for her to understand that (abortion rights) are not something that happened overnight. It's something people have been fighting for decades. And I want to let her know that as a woman this is important to keep the fight going ."

Everyone who attended was also urged to call their local state representative and tell them to vote no on overriding Governor Roy Cooper's veto of the Born Alive Bill.

The Senate has already overridden the veto. And the abortion bill could come back to the statehouse sometime this week.
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.