Abortion rights advocates protest in Nashville

Posted at 6:39 AM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 20:32:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CNN) — Abortion rights advocates descended on downtown Nashville as part of nationwide protests sparked by recent anti-abortion laws across several states.

CNN reports that more than 50 organizations -- including the American Civil Liberties Union and NARAL Pro-Choice America -- are participating in #StopTheBans protests nationwide.

Rallies took place at noon local time in almost all 50 states, including Tennessee.

According to the #StopTheBans website, advocates with Nashville and Middle TN Indivisible gathered at Legislative Plaza, located on 6th Avenue North.

The protests come after Alabama enacted the strictest abortion law in the country, making abortion illegal in virtually all cases – including cases of rape and incest. Under the law, doctors who perform an abortion could face up to 99 years in prison.

"I think this is an attack on women, and I believe that it is our right to be able to have an abortion on demand," said Heather Vacovski, one of the protesters. "I'm so proud of everybody who has come out here today to protest this."

Georgia recently enacted a so-called "heartbeat law," meaning virtually all abortions are illegal once a heartbeat is detected.

Several states already have similar laws and others could enact similar "heartbeat bills."

Some Tennessee lawmakers tried to enact such a bill. The sponsor, state representative Micah Van Huss said he believed it would save the lives of children.

** CNN contributed to this story.