• Protesters rally in Downtown Memphis to stop states from passing 'extreme abortion bans'

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    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Thousands of abortion rights activists rallied across the county – as well as right here in the Mid-South.

    They were fueled by anger over a string of state laws aimed at restricting access to abortions.

    Organizers at a protest in Downtown Memphis told FOX13 they stand with women across the country whose rights they said are being violated.

    Advocates for Planned Parenthood held rallies to express their disapproval of what they call “extreme abortion bans that are sweeping the country.”

    “They are dangerous. They will result in a loss of women’s life,” said Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood in Tennessee.


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    People on the other side of the debate also showed up. 

    One man said he was once pro-choice, but God changed his mind. And he is hoping the same happens for the dozens who showed up to Tuesday’s rally expressing their disfavor of the bans.

    “I was praying that for the love of God to be poured out upon those rallying for a culture of death,” said Steve Coplon, of Life Choices of Memphis.

    The rally comes on the heels of a law passed last week in Alabama that would make abortion a felony, with no exceptions for cases of incest or rape.

    The Tennessee legislature came close to passing a similar outright abortion ban this year. 

    “Make no mistake. This is a coordinated attack on Roe v. Wade and we are not going to stand by silently and let that happen,” said Coffield.

    Others are saying these rallies need to stop and that people need to let legislators continue their good work.

    “I think the pro-life movement has been largely asleep and now they are waking up to see the reality of where this is going if we don’t stop it,” Coplon said.

    Governors in Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia and Ohio have passed laws banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected – which is about six weeks into the pregnancy. 

    None of these laws have actually taken effect yet.

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