Oct 082002
Authors: Willow Welter

DENVER–Cheers rose through downtown Denver Monday as hundreds of people rallied around the Denver Capitol Building to support pro-choice politicians.

Tom Strickland, Mike Feeley, Stephanie Shulman and Stan Matsunaka were among the Democratic candidates who took the podium to express views on keeping abortion legal. All the politicians stressed the importance of the upcoming election, stressing that the U.S. Supreme Court is split 5-4 on the issue of choice.

Beth Ganz, the executive director of Colorado’s National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, coordinated the rally. Ganz said that since there is currently a vacancy in the Supreme Court, if the next person nominated is anti-abortion, the court could vote to outlaw abortion.

With such a landmark election approaching, the rally speakers and politicians encouraged the crowd to vote for pro-choice candidates.

“I think it was a fabulous day,” Ganz said. “The energy was terrific. We expected a couple hundred people, and I think there were as many as 500.”

Hundreds of signs rose above the crowd, most of them green and white with a picture of the statue of liberty, reading, “Pro-Strickland, Pro-Choice,” “When Women Vote, Democrats Win” and “NARAL for a Pro-Choice America.”

Although fewer in number, about 15 anti-abortionists forged through the pro-choice crowd to display their picket signs. Some of the anti-abortionists’ signs pictured aborted fetuses, and others read, “Life: The First Inalienable Right.”

“I have to stand up for what I believe in, and I believe this is a baby from conception to natural death,” said Ruth Dolan, Denver chapter president of the Colorado Right to Life organization. “I’ve been fighting abortion since 1971.”

Leslie Hanks, the vice president of Colorado’s Right to Life, held a sign reading, “Choice,” and depicting an aborted fetus. She insisted the woman in front of her, NARAL member Kaye Siemers, was attempting to block the anti-abortion sign with her pro-choice sign.

“Favoring choice is not favoring abortion,” Siemers stressed while she stood in front of Hanks. The two women argued while the candidates spoke in the background.

The main goal of the rally, Ganz stated, was to promote Tom Strickland’s campaign to become senator for Colorado. NARAL fears that current senator Wayne Allard would welcome the vote to overturn ITALICISERoe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that made abortion legal.

“Choice is something that covers the whole scope of voters,” said Cody Wertz, communications director of the Colorado Democratic Party. “Our candidates are all pro-choice; they all want to guarantee the right for a woman to choose.”

-Edited by Colleen Buhrer and Becky Waddingham

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