MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Protesters took the streets Tuesday in opposition of new state laws restricting abortion.
Activists with the Tennessee chapter of Planned Parenthood hosted a rally in Memphis at Civic Plaza in front of the federal courthouse.
They said they want to show solidarity to women across the country whose rights they said are being rolled back, state after state.
“Tennessee and North Mississippi, this is a nationwide coordinated attack to bring down Roe vs Wade. If you think Roe is not under attack please think again,” said Planned Parenthood CEO Ashley Coffield.
Tuesday, a federal judge who struck down Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban last year will hear new arguments about a new law that would ban abortions even earlier.
The law would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected--at about six weeks.
Governor Phil Bryant signed that bill in March, and the state's only abortion clinic sued. Governors in Kentucky, Ohio and Georgia also signed similar bans.
A lot of focus has been on Alabama in the past week. The state's governor signed a bill making abortion a felony in nearly all cases.
Women’s and abortion rights advocates in downtown Memphis say the bans have gone too far.
“These laws are taking away a woman’s rights before they even know that they have a right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy,” Coffield said.
Supporters of the bans say their goal is to protect the life of the unborn, and to get these cases in front of the Supreme Court to challenge the landmark Roe v. Wade that legalized abortions nationwide.
“It’s an opportunity to give life to someone and let them live that life to the fullest,” Steve Coplon, CEO of Life Choices Memphis, said.
Life Choices is an organization that offers life affirming decisions to pregnant mothers.
Coplon says his group often counsels women who’ve debated having abortions but couldn’t go through with them.
“It’s more than the woman’s body. There’s an independent child inside the womb,” he said.
The Tennessee house passed a fetal heartbeat bill earlier this year but the Senate did not sign off on it.