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Protesters in Rock Island rally against anti-abortion laws

Hundreds of women rallied in Rock Island Saturday afternoon to protest strict abortion laws passed in Texas.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Hundreds of women protested against abortion laws during a local Women's March event on Saturday, Oct. 2 in Rock Island.

"When we're having somebody, the government for example, telling us what we can and cannot do, it's a violation of our personal space and safety," rally attendee Chevis Krull said. 

Protesters said this year's rally was significant after Texas passed strict abortion laws in September.

Women at the protest said the government has no right to make personal health choices.

"Ending the criminalization of pregnancy, abortion and all aspects of reproduction is essential to affirming the right to reproductive and body autonomy," Moline Mayor Sageetha Rayapati said.

Speakers and protesters voiced that abortion might be considered under circumstances like rape and adverse medical effects on the mother.

"It is a deeply personal decision. And most of the time it's made under the most difficult circumstances," attendee Ann Hochhausen said.

Krull recounted her personal experience working with children of abuse.

"I've worked with children as young as eleven who have been victimized and sexually abused to the point where they did get pregnant," Krull said. "And so their circumstances at 11 are completely different than the circumstances that I may have as a white, privileged woman who has the means to … afford a child."

Along with the right to abortion, protesters demanded quality, affordable health care for all.

"We must rally together for a world where abortion must be accessible and affordable to all people," said NAACP Rock Island County President Bonnie Ballard.

Krull said she feared what will come if the government continues to restrict abortion rights.

"Women will die. Children will die," said Krull. "We don't see the long-term effects. You know, abortions will continue. They'll just continue unsafely and behind closed doors."

Another message during the protest was a push for women to take political office to have control over their own reproductive rights.

"Women's perspective is different than a male perspective," community activist Angie Normoyle said. "And if we have bodies of legislatures that are predominantly male, it's difficult to fully incorporate a female perspective. It's super important for women to vote, to run and to support women who are running for office."

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