Abortion debate takes center stage at State Capitol with dueling rallies

6 months 4 days 5 hours ago Wednesday, June 14 2017 Jun 14, 2017 Wednesday, June 14, 2017 3:43:00 PM CDT June 14, 2017 in News
By: Karla Valcourt, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - Hundreds of abortion rights supporters and opponents gathered at the Capitol Wednesday for two separate rallies on the divisive issue.

Abortion rights supporters first held The People's Special Session, voicing their opposition to Governor Greitens's special session that began on Monday aimed at abortion policies in the state.

More than 100 people filled the first floor of the capitol's rotunda while some activists prepared speeches for the crowd.

Several groups throughout Missouri such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Planned Parenthood, and the Missouri State Women's Political Caucus attended the session.

The governor called the special session, his second since becoming governor, to address abortion policies such as an ordinance in St. Louis that bans discrimination based on abortion and pregnancies.

Some abortion rights supporters said the governor's special session is a waste of taxpayer time and money.

"It seems totally unnecessary to me. There's nothing urgent. There's no reason to be spending all this money on the special sessions," said Dagney Velazquez, a self-proclaimed pro-choice advocate.

However, Susan Klein with the Missouri Right to Life said the special session is 'absolutely necessary'.

She said, "If you're looking at saving human lives and protecting women, how are you going to put a cost on that?"

Following The People's Special Session, activists stormed Governor Greitens's office, chanting and taping signs up outside his office.

Later, hundreds of abortion rights opponents met on the third floor of the rotunda for a rally of their own.

A Lincoln University student and a member of Missouri Right to Life are among those who spoke at the rally.

It is unclear on how long the special session will take, but the House will be in session on the 20th.

 

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