MISSOULA - More than 150 people gathered outside of the Missoula County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon to take part in a national protest of recent restrictions on abortion rights in Alabama and other states.
The Stop the Ban protest was organized by the Missoula County Democrats, and Missoula Rises, a progressive community organization.
From noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, pro-choice advocates of all ages came together to listen to community leaders talk about how the abortion ban and restrictions cannot happen in Montana. Missoula County Democrats Chairperson Karen Wickersham, Missoula Rises Founder Erin Erikson, and House District 96 Representative Tom Winter were among some of the local leaders who spoke at the protest.
But it wasn't just a rally in support of safe and legal abortions, there were also registration booths to get people signed up to vote.
More than 60 of the rally attenders were from local high schools who left class to protest alongside other pro-choice advocates.
"It's important especially young people to keep defending their rights and getting involved in their community because we are the future, and why not start early," Sylvia Luceno a senior at Hellgate High School said.
The Stop the Ban protest also happened in Bozeman, where more than 20 people gathered in front of Gallatin County Courthouse to voice their support for safe and legal abortions.
Eight states across the country have passed restrictions on abortions in 2019.
In five of the states, Georgia, Kentucky, Missoula, Mississippi and Ohio, legislators have made it illegal to get abortions after six to eight weeks. This is around the time doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat. Alabama outlawed all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Legislators in these states passed the bans and restrictions on abortion because they believe life begins when a heartbeat is detected.