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Pro-choice students surrounded and prayed at during State House demonstration



“I feel that women have the right to choose,” said Hollie, a student at Rhode Island College (RIC) School of Social Work. “You have the right over your own body and just because your religious beliefs are one way doesn’t mean that others don’t have the right to choose, and I think that, from someone that is spiritual, I thin should have nothing to do with it. Yes, I may never make that choice in my personal life, but I believe that women have a right to make that choice.”

“I think it should be a choice,” said Tayla, also a student at Rhode Island College School of Social Work. “No one can tell me what to do with my body.”

Hollie and Tayla were two of about a dozen young women from RIC and the Lincoln School in Providence who came to the Rhode Island State House on Thursday to advocate for the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Act. The students, who chanted and held signs, were immediately swarmed by those opposed to abortion rights, who chanted, sang and prayed at them.

In the video below you can see Senator Elaine Morgan (Republican, District 34, Exeter Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich) putting herself between the two sides, only to be escorted away by Senator Frank Lombardi (Democrat, District 26, Cranston). Both Senators are staunchly “pro-life.”

Later, the students found themselves surrounded by anti-abortion activists in the State House rotunda, encircled and being loudly prayed at. Once again Senator Morgan found her way into the fray.

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The woman with the “Pro-Gun Pro-Life” sign on her back also has a yellow pin with a picture of a gun on it and words that say, “My Body My Choice.” The woman also has a letter Q pinned to her vest, denoting QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory against President Donald Trump.

In the tweet below Wendy Becker notes that Senator Morgan called the students “evil.”

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.