Rallying for Reproductive Rights in Rochester

May 22, 2019 10:38 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Hundreds of “Stop the Ban” rallies are marching through cities and states across the country.

It’s one side of a growing debate as more states pass stricter abortion laws.


In Rochester Wednesday, a “Reproductive Rights” rally drew more than 100 people to Peace Plaza.

“I think people talk about money more than they talk about rights for women, men, gay people, straight people, anything – trans people, it’s all the same,” said Rochester resident Shammah Butler.

The right to life and the right to choose an abortion has been a debate for decades; but, more so recently, as states like Alabama, Georgia and Ohio pass some of the most restrictive abortion laws since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The debate’s been brought back to the table and the heart of downtown Rochester.

“I’ve had really the privilege of living in a world and living in the U-S at a time when I had really comprehensive access to healthcare, I’ve had comprehensive access to contraception I’ve had access to abortion if I needed it,” said Amanika Kumar, a physician and Rochester resident who came to the rally with her daughter, Archie.

“It is simply morally wrong for lawmakers, particularly men, to dictate to women what they can and cannot do with their bodies,” said Kathleen Castrovinci, a Rochester resident.

The national pro-life movement argues it’s not up to anyone to end the life of a fetus, but Castrovinci, a mother and grandmother said Alabama’s law, which provides no exception for rape or incest, is especially troubling.

“If a child of 12 is raped by her father, by her brother, by her uncle, and states ban abortion, that poor child will be forced against her will to carry that baby to term and possibly kill her,” Castrovinci said.

Butler said restricting the right of women to control their own bodies is a slippery slope.

“Where do we stop banning things that a woman can or can’t do, gay people can or can’t do, colored people can or can’t do,” he said.

For Kumar, it’s about securing the future for her daughter.

“I want to make sure that she has all of the things that she needs to live a full and healthy life,” she said.

It’s an argument that will probably never have a solution that satisfies everyone.

“You control your destinies, you control your futures, you do your thinking – not someone do your thinking for you,” Castrovinci said.

Supporters of the new laws hope these challenges make it all the way to the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In a tweet this week, President Trump said he is “strongly pro-life” with the exceptions of rape, incest and endangering the life of a mother.


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