People in Minocqua rally against recent near-total abortion bans in eight U.S. statesSubmitted: 05/21/2019
Story By Rose McBride

People in Minocqua rally against recent near-total abortion bans in eight U.S. states
MINOCQUA - Dozens of women dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets marched through Minocqua.

The outfits were meant remind us of Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale, where women are turned into servants whose sole purpose is to have children.

The women wearing them warned that fictional future could become reality.

"It's a very frightening prospect that we are stepping back in time," said Jean Roach. 

Roach marched through Minocqua Tuesday because she remembers a time before Roe v. Wade where women had to turn to dangerous methods make decisions about their bodies.

"I have friends when I was in college who had to have illegal abortions, a very scary and unsafe situation," said Roach.

Roach says laws against it didn't stop women from having abortions, they just were unregulated. 

"Legalizing abortion made the situation safe for those who choose to have an abortion for any number of reasons," said Roach. 

Roach was one of dozens of women and men in Minocqua protesting recent laws passed in southern states placing near total-bans on abortions. 

Marches like the one the Northwoods Progressives organized in Minocqua happened all over the country Tuesday. 

Pro-lifers hope the law changes eventually end up with the supreme court overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Marchers held signs saying, "Stop the war on women" but marcher Kristen De Bruyne says it's more than just a women's issue. 

"I see it as a human rights issue and a poverty issue and [economic], it's not just a reproductive or women's rights issue in general," said De Bruyne. 

Human rights issues mean something else in the Catholic Church: the right to life. 

Father Michael Tupa of Nativity of Our Lord in Rhinelander says women and men have the responsibility to protect an unborn child.

"The right to human life is the first and most fundamental of all human rights," said Fr. Tupa. 

The Church is against all abortions. The recent bans bring into question the separation of church and state for some of the women protesting, saying it's an attack on women by lawmakers who shouldn't have control over their bodies. 

The Wisconsin Assembly approved four abortion-related bills last week, including one that would prohibit abortions based on the fetus's race, sex or defects. The Senate will vote on the bills in June.

No state lawmakers who we contacted Tuesday were available to talk about the bills. 

Governor Evers said he will veto the bills if they make it to his desk. 

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RHINELANDER - The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic forced schools and colleges around the world to shut their doors.

It's been hard for most students. But seniors are especially concerned 

They worried they may miss out on important milestones. 

"When we are in school it's a whole lot easier to go down the hall, call a classroom to get a kid, talk to them in the hallways, go to the performances and games and all that to just be more present in their life," Tienhaara said.

Rhinelander High School counselor Ryan Tienhaara is doing his best to make sure students are getting the support they need during the Coronavirus pandemic.

"It's important to talk about those frustrations if you are frustrated," Tienhaara said.

Tienhaara says while most seniors have some idea of what's next after high school, some students, including juniors will have to make big decisions remotely.

"Most schools are closed down for who knows how long so it could be lots of virtual visits," Tienhaara said. 

For kids feeling lonely, stressed or anxious, Tienhaara urges students to lean on family and friends.

"Open up those lines of communication with everybody because we are all kind of struggling through this together," Tienhaara said.

While many are worried about missing out on certain experiences, counselors suggest seniors to create new ones by capturing this moment in its own milestone.

"All seniors across the U.S. essentially have lost their spring semester. Not necessarily that that's a good thing but to know that they are not alone while going through these emotions and feeling the frustrations," Tienhaara said.

In the meantime, Tienhaara hopes education is prioritized from here on out and nothing is taken for granted.

"I hope that it will kind of provide a sense of privilege that it is to get an education, go to school and to just kind have a normal life that we used to have. You know it's that saying you don't know what you got until it's gone. I think we are all feeling that right now," Tienhaara said.

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Getting rid of the fees is meant to cut down on potential overcrowding problems at the parks.

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"Maple syrup is a big family and community time for us usually," said Solin. "We love to have people out in the woods with us, tapping trees and collecting sap and being part of the cooking process. We just can't do that this year and so its kind of a lonely maple syrup season.

But the growing fears of coronavirus shrunk the team down to just five - making his farm in Antigo eerily quiet.

"I think we'll be okay," said Solin. "It just means a lot more work for fewer people essentially to try and keep up and more stress in a sense during the process of the season."

It's more work for Solin, but still same volume of syrup.

Supply won't be the issue - Solin is concerned about the demand.

"We work with a lot of restaurants, bars, coffee shops who are obviously really struggling at this point," said Solin. "We're concerned about their survival as a small business and partner of ours and friends of ours so as we lose those businesses that's going to affect our business as well."

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Evers said he hoped the declaration, which also would cover Wisconsin's federally recognized tribes, would allow the states to access critical programs to support its response, including community disaster loans, public assistance, direct assistance and crisis counseling.

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Johnson & Johnson announced Monday that it has selected a coronavirus vaccine candidate to test in humans.

The experimental vaccine will begin the first phase of human clinical trials in September, and if the testing goes as planned, the first round of vaccines could be administered under emergency authorization in early 2021, according to the company.

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