TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There were two abortion rallies in Tucson on Tuesday, May 21 to protest recent state laws imposing new restrictions on abortion laws.
The first, in front of the County Library downtown at noon, attracted about 150 protesters.
Among them was 86-year-old Gretchen Nielsen who had an abortion when she was 21 years old.
At the time abortions were illegal and dangerous.
“Following the procedure, I thought I was going to die,” Nielsen said. “I was bleeding badly.”
She says she managed to make it to her family physician who “saved her life but risked getting caught and going to jail.”
Neilsen thought Roe v Wade settled the issue in 1973 so that others would not have to experience what she did.
"I thought we had that taken care of," she said. "We have a right to our bodies."
Helen Brown attended her first abortion rally with her mother in 1958 but isn't surprised it is not yet a settled issue.
“It’s something that comes in waves so we’ll have to keep fighting it,” Brown said.
Some of the protesters said they believed the issue, for them, fell off the radar following Roe v Wade in 1973 and while there have been changes in state law over the years, this year has been most obvious.
“The laws have happened so gradually to start making it less and less accessible,” said Brianna Fricke, of the Tucson Abortion Support Collective. “I think that’s an intended strategy for the people on the other side to chip away little by little by little.”
The second rally happened late in the afternoon in front of the US Federal Building at Congress and Granada.
About 300 people lined the streets on both sides chanting and reacting to the myriad of car horns blaring in support.
It was organized by the Justice Alliance, a progressive group working to protect women’s rights.
While the first protest argued against the ban imposed in Alabama and the restrictions approved by Missouri and Georgia, the protest at the federal building was aimed more at the federal government and by extension, the US Supreme Court.
It’s thought one of the state cases may come before the nation’s highest court as a challenge to the 1973 law.