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Local supporters of reproductive rights rally at La Crosse park

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About 150 people gathered at Weigent Park in La Crosse on Saturday to show support for reproductive rights.

The Rally for Reproductive Rights in La Crosse was one of hundreds of events planned around the U.S. on Saturday, in response to new laws passed in several states and court challenges to the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade ruling of 1973.

The YWCA-La Crosse, Cia Siab, Inc. and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin organized the local event, which featured several speakers and ended with a demonstration on the Cass Street side of the park.

Joella Striebel, Public Affairs Regional Coordinator from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, told the audience that more than 1 million Wisconsin residents of reproductive age could lose access to contraceptive health care if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

Elizabeth Digby-Britten with the YWCA said that banning abortions will not stop the procedure, but it will “only end safe abortions.”

Wisconsin state Assembly Rep. Jill Billings of La Crosse also spoke, saying that the government has no place in a woman’s decision on whether to seek an abortion.

Other elected officials who attended but did not give speeches included state Sen. Brad Pfaff and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Pfaff just announced he’s running for U.S. Congress, while Barnes is running for U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin could not attend, but sent a statement read during the program, which said the U.S. “cannot allow the clock to be turned back 50 years,” referring to Roe vs. Wade.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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