Abortionprotests engulf Capitol

Ken Eisinger

More than 3,000 abortion opponents lined the state Capitol steps Thursday to protest the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Holding signs that read “Abortion Is Not Health Care” and “Stop Abortion Now,” the solemn marchers were serenaded by a recording of “Amazing Grace” as they trudged around the Capitol mall.
The protest was held by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.
A spokeswoman for the organization, Maryanne Corona, said she was humbled by the massive crowd.
“It’s really energizing for us because sometimes this feels like a lonely place,” Corona said.
Guest speakers such as the organization’s president Leo LaLonde and Rep. Steve Wenzel, DFL-Little Falls, celebrated restrictions placed on abortion since Roe v. Wade.
Several University students attended the protest, including Women of Virtue and Maranatha Christian Fellowship members.
Women of Virtue President Amber Harpel said the student body’s attitude about abortions is that they’re fine for women who need them and those women shouldn’t be chastised for it.
“But it’s still murder,” Harpel said.
Prior to the protest, local abortion-rights activists held a news conference inside the Capitol.
There were 25 speakers to commemorate 25 years of legalized abortion and to encourage its continued existence.
However, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Resources Andrea Plattwyer said that even though abortions are legal, many women don’t have that option.
“Many women are still shut out from access because there are not enough doctors performing abortions, not enough clinics available and they’re expensive,” Plattwyer said.
Heidi Vardeman, Chairwoman of the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice said, “A lot of people think that the only religious position on abortion is to be against it, and they’re wrong.”
Vardeman, a Presbyterian minister, said many religious people support legalized abortion.
“As religious people, we don’t talk so much about abortion rights,” Vardeman said. “We think about it as the freedom to choose, the freedom of religion. It’s a slightly different angle.”
University graduate Joshua Zichaorst, an abortion opponent, took the day off from his construction job to attend the rally.
“This is what our nation is founded on,” Zichaorst said of the protest.