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Planned Parenthood supporters in West Palm Beach protest abortion bans nationwide

Posted: 11:44 AM, May 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-21 22:27:24Z
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Dozens of Planned Parenthood supporters took part in a national rally on Tuesday in downtown West Palm Beach, calling for an end to anti-abortion laws around the country.

🔽 WATCH WEST PALM BEACH RALLY 🔽

Pro-choice groups participated in #StopTheBans protests nationwide.

"We are here today standing in solidarity with thousands of people across the country who are fed up with these abortion bans," said Laura Goodhue, the Executive Director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood affiliates, at a rally on Clematis Street.

"We are at war!" said Felicia Goldstein, the District Director for U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel. "Not with Iran or China or Russia. There is a war being declared on the women of the country by the Trump administration."

Dozens of people rallied in a courtyard, holding signs and chanting.

"Our right to governing our bodies are under attack. Our own bodies are under attack," said Alexa Lane, a pro-choice activist. "Politicians are not doctors. Enough is enough."

Last week, Alabama enacted the strictest abortion law in the country. It would make abortion illegal in virtually all cases, including rape and incest. The new law says doctors who perform an abortion could face up to 99 years in prison, similar to punishment for rapists and murderers.

"To the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, in a statement.

On the other side of the issue, Willy Guardiola with Palm Beach County Right to Life -- part of the largest anti-abortion organization in the country — said this is the most discussion and movement he’s seen in decades.

“It’s just been the biggest hottest button issue we’ve ever seen," he said. "I hate politics. And it's really sad that we're called the United States of America, we're not united right now."

He said his organization fights for the lives of those who don't have a voice yet.

"It's all about human kind. And it's all about the babies," he said.

But as states continue to debate the new laws, Guardiola is hoping to continue their work with churches, clinics and other local organizations to lower the number of abortions in Palm Beach County, which he said exceeded 5,000 in 2018.

“Alabama’s probably a bit too much over the top but at least they’re knocking on the door," he said. “It’s not all doom and gloom and we need to let people know that it’s just one day at a time, one step at a time, and one baby at a time. Again — it’s all about the little baby in the womb.”

The Florida Right to Life to chapter just hosted a conference in Orlando, one of four chapter meetings per year in the state.

There are no plans for an upcoming protest but if people want to get involved in future events, just email willyguardiola@yahoo.com.

RELATED: President Trump favors exemptions on abortion bans

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia recently approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. A similar "heartbeat bill" was also just approved in Missouri.

Planned Parenthood said they've fought back on similar bills regarding abortion bans that were brought to lawmakers in Tallahassee.

Due to legal challenges, it could be years before Alabama's law takes effect.

WPTV and CNN Newsource contributed to this report.