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Thousands attend KCMO protest of new Missouri abortion bill

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-19 20:37:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two days after the Missouri House of Representatives passed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country, two separate protests took place in Kansas City, Missouri.

Lawmakers passed the bill Friday, banning abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy and imposing tough penalties for doctors who violate the law. The state Senate passed a version Wednesday and Gov. Mike Parson has promised to sign the bill.

The ban only allows exceptions in the case of medical emergencies, not rape or incest.

Doctors who perform abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy would face five to 15 years in prison. Women who have abortions would not be prosecuted.

At the J.C. Nichols Fountain on the Country Club Plaza, several thousand protesters chanted, cheered and held signs showing that expressed anger about what they said is a breach of their right to make decisions for their body.

"As a woman, the idea of not being able to choose my bodily autonomy scares me and I don't trust that," Samantha Leyerie from Lee's Summit said. "It's a fundamental right, in my opinion."

Several hours before the Plaza rally, a smaller gathering started at Case Park as protesters marched to the Jackson County Courthouse.

"(I'm) terrified to my core, because I can't stand the idea of not having control over me, about not being a person," said Ellen Griffin, who participated in the march.

Amid the crowds, one woman held a sign showing her support for the pro-life community. She wanted the protesters to see the other side of the issue.

"I 100% believe that we have to protect the unborn and they have rights as well," Elizabeth Brocato said.

Lawmakers like Rep. Doug Richey from Clay County, who voted in favor of the bill on Friday, called it lifesaving legislation.

"I really do think this bill saves lives, and I also addresses the issues regarding the need for services and help to people that are in difficult situations," he said.

Plenty of others obviously disgaree and are dismayed that Roe vs. Wade, the seminal Superme Court case the made abortion legal, is once again in the crosshairs more than four decades later.

"My mom was around for the fight in 1973, when I was just 3 years old and the fact that I have to come back and fight after all of that is kind of insanity to me," Griffin said.

Assuming Parson follows through with his promise to sign the bill as is, it immediately will go into effect, though legal challenges also seem certain to follow.