Pro-choice advocates rally the Capitol
BISMARCK -- Marnie Piehl said Monday that until now, women and families haven't been threatened by the Legislature over their right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
"They have decided to make it their business, and they don't know the sleeping giant they have awakened," she said.
Piehl, of Bismarck, helped organized Monday afternoon's Stand Up for Women ND rally at the Capitol where hundreds of men, women and children filled the Great Hall and Capitol steps to urge Gov. Jack Dalrymple to veto the anti-abortion bills that have been passed over the past two weeks.
Piehl's mother, Dina Butcher, addressed the crowd that filled the Great Hall outside Dalrymple's office, calling the bills, "ill-conceived, over-reaching and anti-women bills."
"I am a Republican who believes in less government intrusion in my life. ... Where are the real conservatives when you need them?" she asked, referring to lawmakers.
Deb Hill, a nurse from Bismarck, came out to support the legislation and urge Dalrymple to sign the bills. Standing amongst the crowd, she stood with her eyes closed praying.
"Every child is wanted, just not by you," she wanted to tell those around her. "People will open their homes if you don't want to care for the child, give it up for love.
"In our minds, we think we know what's right, but we don't," she added.
Before moving the crowd to the Capitol steps, Piehl urged rally goers to call Dalrymple and ask him to veto the bills, spread the word about the constitutional amendment that will be on the November 2014 ballot, and get involved at a district level to remove the pro-life lawmakers from office.
Outside, chants of "veto," and, "a woman's choice is a woman's voice," rang out as pro-choice supporters pushed signs into the air.
Jeremy Eagle, of Bismarck, took the day off from work.
Holding the sign, "This is what a feminist looks like," he said legislators are not speaking up for abortion rights advocates. "It's sad when people have to get together like this."
But he said when groups do rally together, they can make a difference. "Even if it's the push to get the boulder rolling down the hill."
Piehl, who brought her three children for support, said the debate over a woman's right to choose took place during the 1973 Roe v. Wade case where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled abortions are legal. She said the bills are only taking the state backward.
"We haven't needed to make this a fight until now," she said. "They did this in the 70s. We shouldn't be having this now."
Similar rallies were planned in Fargo and Grand Forks on Monday