An attendee holds a sign at the Women’s March on Juneau in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

An attendee holds a sign at the Women’s March on Juneau in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Rally to push back at attempts near and far to ban abortion

Juneau event joins with Stop the Bans rallies around nation

Two organizers have joined forces to put on a rally Tuesday in resistance to national and local attempts to ban abortions.

Juneau residents Samantha Cox and Alyson Currey were already planning events. Currey, Alaska’s legislative liaison for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, was prepared to join in a National Day of Action put on by multiple national groups to push back against state legislatures around the country passing abortion bans.

Cox, in response to Alaska Rep. David Eastman’s bill that would criminalize abortion, was organizing a rally of her own. The two of them got together and ended up collaborating.

Their rally takes place at noon at the courtyard in front of the Dimond Courthouse, across the street from the Alaska State Capitol. As part of the Stop the Bans National Day of Action, organizations around the country are holding rallies at noon Tuesday to show their opposition to bans on abortion.

In an interview Saturday, Currey said there will likely be a couple speakers, but the rally will be informal. People can bring signs, she said, and Planned Parenthood will be passing out pre-made signs.

[Women’s March holds up missing, murdered indigenous women]

Fifteen states, including Alabama (which has garnered the most national attention) and Missouri (which passed the most recent one, this past Friday), have passed bills criminalizing abortion. These bills will be put to a constitutional test, as the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade ruled that state regulation on abortion is unconstitutional.

Still, people around the country are concerned at this wave of anti-abortion legislation. Since Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, introduced his bill last week to criminalize abortion, social media around the state has lit up with arguments about the topic.

“People are pretty fired up about that bill,” Currey said, “even though we know it’s not going anywhere and don’t want to give (Eastman) more credit and attention than he deserves.”

The bill can’t be heard until next January at the earliest because the regular legislative session is over. Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage, told the Associated Press on Friday that the Alaska House Health and Social Services Committee (of which she is a co-chair) will not hear the bill.

Currey, who regularly communicates with lawmakers through her job, said she doesn’t believe there’s currently enough support in the Alaska Legislature to pass Eastman’s bill, House Bill 178. Still, even a slight change in the makeup of the Legislature could change that, she said.

“There are legislators that would love to see a bill like this come through to criminalize or just to ban abortion completely,” Currey said, “but I think even for some of the folks that consider themselves personally pro-life, this might even be too extreme for them.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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