Abortion debate takes over Capitol Square

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RICHMOND, Va., (WRIC) — Both pro-life and abortion rights groups gathered outside the Capitol on Wednesday to make their voices heard. 

Earlier this year, lawmakers were split over a bill that would have “lifted restrictions” on certain abortions.

Two different rallies took over Capitol Square on April 3: Pro-life champions calling on state lawmakers to honor human life and those fighting to protect abortion rights 

“Around 72% of Virginians who believe access to abortion care is paramount and private,” said Dr. Sarah Imershein. “Government intrusion is inappropriate in personal and private health care decisions.”​​​​​

One woman at the abortion rights rally, Monique Alcala, told 8News after she was raped she became pregnant. “And at that point I had an eight-year-old daughter and I had a decision to make about whether or not I wanted to be tied to this person for the rest of my life,” said Imershein. “So I made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.

Pro-life champions rallied on the Capitol steps and marched for life. 

Susan Holmes said her daughter, AnnaLeigh Holmes, was almost aborted 15 years ago. 

“This young lady right here is a miracle,” said Susan Holmes. “She was a product of rape which is a huge reason why people say abortion should be legal. Well look at her, she’s beautiful.”

Holmes told 8News at the pro-life rally that she was chosen to adopt AnnaLeigh by her birth mother. 

“I’m actually here today getting to talk about this and march,” said A. Holmes. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the decision she made. I wouldn’t be alive.”​​​​​​​At the pro-life rally, large crowds and families called on lawmakers to honor all life.

“All human beings should be protected under the law and science tells us human life begins at fertilization,” said Maggie Ferrara.

The legislation that sparked so much debate earlier this year did not pass. Similar bills were also brought up in 2017 and 2018, but they failed to pass. 

There is no word yet if lawmakers plan to bring this up again next year. 

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