Peter Segall | Juneau Empire                                A group of mostly Republican lawmakers gather on the steps of the Capitol for an anti-abortion rally Wednesday.

Peter Segall | Juneau Empire A group of mostly Republican lawmakers gather on the steps of the Capitol for an anti-abortion rally Wednesday.

Anti-abortion lawmakers, citizens rally at Alaska capitol

Protestors were joined by a group of mostly Republican legislators

About 50 anti-abortion advocates, including many Republican members of the Legislature, gathered to lament the passage of Roe vs. Wade in 1973, Wednesday afternoon.

A number of Republican lawmakers and one Democrat stood on the steps of the Capitol while most of the crowd stood across the street in front of the courthouse.

“We have a significant force (in the Legislature) to work with you,” Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, told the crowd. “It’s a moral battle and a political battle.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Shelly Hughes, R-Palmer, introduced a bill into the Senate which would amend the state constitution concerning abortion.

“To protect human life, nothing in this constitution may be construed to secure or protect a right to an abortion or require the State to fund an abortion,” the bill, SJR 13, reads.

“It is a constitutional amendment that would allow the people of Alaska and their duly elected representatives to decide what the policy is regarding babies in the womb,” Hughes told the Empire in an interview.

In an interview with the Empire, Coghill said he believed ending abortion was a civil rights issue.

“When there are people who don’t ever get to speak for themselves, if they’re people, it’s a civil rights issue,” Coghill said. “To me even if they’re unborn, they’re still people.”

Republican Sens. Cathy Giessel of Anchorage, Peter Micciche of Soldotna, Coghill, Hughes, Josh Revak of Anchorage and David Wilson of Wasilla stood in support of the rally. Democratic Sen. Donny Olsen of Golovin was there as well.

From the House of Representatives were George Rausher of Sutton, Kelly Merrick of Eagle River, Sarah Vance of Homer, Gabrielle LeDoux of Anchorage, David Eastman of Wasilla, Dave Talerico of Healy and Sara Rasmussen of Anchorage, all Republicans.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer was also in attendance.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he would work to support anti-abortion causes.

“I will remain firm in defending the sanctity of human life at all stages,” Dunleavy said in a statement, “and will continue to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.”

Anti-abortion advocates gather across the street from the Alaska State Capitol for a rally on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

Anti-abortion advocates gather across the street from the Alaska State Capitol for a rally on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

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