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From Connecticut To California, Thousands Rally On Abortion Rights With PM-Abortion Decision,

April 27, 1989

From Connecticut To California, Thousands Rally On Abortion Rights With PM-Abortion Decision, Bjt

Undated (AP) _ As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a woman’s right to an abortion and as thousands demonstrated nationwide, one woman made final plans for an abortion at the St. Louis clinic that started the case.

″My finances won’t let me have another child. I think I should have the right to choose,″ the 23-year-old woman, who spoke on the condition on anonymity, said Wednesday.

″There were more concerns in the waiting room this morning,″ said Amelia McCracken, spokeswoman for Reproductive Health Services, which initiated the case before the nation’s high court by challenging restrictions in Missouri’s abortion law. ″There is an awareness, an edge today that I haven’t seen previously.″

The Supreme Court could use its ruling in the case of Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services to tighten or even overturn its landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

The St. Louis clinic, a target in the past of many anti-abortion protests, was quiet Wednesday. But from Connecticut to California, people marched and spoke out at rallies on both sides of the issue.

The crowds were mostly pro-choice, and many who had abortions told their stories.

″I am compelled by the thought that someone else ... could have made such a personal decision for me,″ said Cynthia Shang, 24, of Durham, N.C., who spoke before 800 pro-choice demonstrators in Raleigh. She said she had an abortion at age 19.

″We are committed to a woman’s inalienable right to her own womb,″ she said. ″It is not the property of the state. It is not the property of the church.″

But in Sacramento, Calif., Nola Jones told reporters she had two abortions before becoming an abortion foe. ″Abortion is a major death experience. Women cannot participate in the death of their own child and not be psychologically impaired,″ she said.

About 2,000 pro-choice demonstrators rallied at the state capital in Sacramento and a half-dozen abortion opponents gathered nearby.

The abortion foes approached the rally, but were surrounded by pro-choice demonstrators. State police separated the groups, then stayed between them throughout the protest.

″This is not a women’s issue,″ actor Tim Busfield, who plays Elliot Weston on ABC’s ″thirtysomething,″ told the pro-choice rally. ″It’s a family issue. It’s a human rights issue.″

Elsewhere, rallies were held in Albany, N.Y.; at Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn.; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and at the University of California, Berkeley in the culmination of an on-campus vigil that went on for days.

And about 800 backers of legalized abortion marched in Atlanta.

″This is a monumental day of reckoning for women’s lives in the U.S.,″ said Victoria Lambert, a spokeswoman for the Coalition Opposing Operation Rescue.

Operation Rescue, which has mounted a series of major anti-abortion protests aimed at blocking access to abortion clinics, is planning protests in 65 cities Friday and Saturday, said spokeswoman Barbara Magera in Binghamton, N.Y.

She said the group would work for a ″human life amendment″ to the Constitution, and would seek bans on abortion in individual states in the event the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade.

Many speakers across the country spoke of the possibility that the high court could return decision-making authority on the legality of abortions to the states.

″It will be total chaos, either way,″ said Mary Newberg, the president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Organization for Women.

The Louisiana legislature already has a bill that declares abortion centers public nuisances in the event the high court overturns Roe vs. Wade.

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