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INDIANAPOLIS — Two rallies, one pro-life and one pro-choice crossed paths on the way to the statehouse on Wednesday afternoon. Each side wanting to be heard.

“We’re fighting, we’re fighting for access to reproductive healthcare,” said Sam James an organizer for the Party for Socialism and Liberation at the pro-choice rally. 

James said abortion is stigmatized in our society and they think it’s important to talk more openly about it to make women feel safe and comfortable sharing their healthcare experiences. 

“I have had so many women in my life share their experience with abortion with me, and it’s just because I started talking about it more.”

Emily Aytes an educator trainer with Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky was at the pro-choice rally to show her support for comprehensive sex education, and the benefits from it.

“I think it’s important for students to have this information especially in Indiana,” said Aytes. “It’s not required to have a comprehensive sex ed, and most of what’s taught is abstinence-only, and they’re just lacking the vital information that’s needed.” 

When asked about pro-choice, Matty Slaydon with Queering Indy says that choice is an interesting word and that people normally take it to mean a choice when it comes to abortion, but Slaydon thinks there’s a lot more to the conversation around reproductive justice and reproductive care.

A few blocks away from the pro-life rally Abby Lasher said she couldn’t imagine if her mother decided to end her life in the embryonic stage, and when she thinks about pro-life she says her husband puts it in the best way. 

“My mom only had three kids, then that’s so many lives that he wouldn’t have in his life right now, so, many persons with personalities, with occupations in the work world, but also with a purpose for their life that wouldn’t be here.”

She says that her advice for people wondering what to do is to have hope and not to be afraid to ask for help. 

“You know cases of rape, or like the mother’s death that’s hard.”

But she said people are willing to help mothers and their babies. 

“It matters as every day does because we’re interested in protecting life and the dignity of the infant and protecting all life,” said Tom Lux. “There is lots of help available, people who will support young women in their pregnancies and help them in that decision to keep their child.”

Each side says they’re just trying to help people.

“I’m not going to lie and say I think that this is going to change the minds of any legislators today,” said Slaydon. “I do hope that maybe someone who’s experienced something with reproductive justice, whether they’re feeling alone or feeling like they did something wrong, or feeling like they don’t have a voice will maybe see this and it’ll mean something to them.”

Both marched to the statehouse on the 47th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, where the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Constitution protected a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

(Photo: Madyson McGill)