Proponents of abortion rights, who demonstrated at hundreds of marches and rallies on Saturday, expressed outrage that the Supreme Court seems ready to abandon the constitutional right to abortion, which has been in effect for nearly half a century, and fears what it could mean for reproductive choice of women.
Excited after the draft opinion surfaced that the Conservative majority would overturn Rowe’s landmark ruling against Wade, activists spoke of the need for rapid mobilization because Republican-led states are ready to impose tougher restrictions.
In the capital, thousands of people gathered in the rain near the Washington Monument to listen to fiery speeches before making their way to the Supreme Court, which was surrounded by two layers of protective fences.
Three days after the Senate failed to garner enough votes to codify Rowe against Wade, a mood of anger and disobedience reigned.
“I can’t believe that at my age I still have to protest because of this,” said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government official who is preparing to fight between states for abortion rights.
34-year-old Caitlin Loer from Washington was wearing a black T-shirt with the image of the “dissident” collar of the deceased Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginzburg and a necklace with the inscription “vote”.
“I think women should have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and their lives. And I don’t think a ban on abortion will stop abortions. It just makes it dangerous and can cost a woman her life, ”Lehr said.
Half a dozen anti-abortion protesters sent back, and Jonathan Darnell shouted into the microphone, “Abortion is not health care, people, because pregnancy is not a disease.”
From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee, to Labak, Texas, tens of thousands took part in events that sang “Forbid Our Bodies!” and “My body, my choice!” sounded. The meetings were mostly peaceful, but in some cities there were tense confrontations between people on opposite sides.
Polls show that most Americans want to maintain access to abortion – at least in the early stages of pregnancy – but the Supreme Court seems ready to allow states to have the final say. If that happens, about half of the states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are expected to ban abortions soon.
The battle was personal to some who came out on Saturday. In Seattle, some protesters carried photos of the heads of conservative judges on sticks.
Teisha Kimons, who has traveled 80 miles to take part in a rally in Chicago, said she fears for women in states who are willing to ban abortions. She said she could not be alive today if she had not had a legal abortion at the age of 15.
“I was already starting to hurt myself and I would have died sooner than I had a baby,” said Kimmons, a masseur from Rockford, Illinois.
At the rally, speaker after speaker said that if abortions were banned, the rights of immigrants, minorities and others would also be “violated,” said Amy Ashleman, wife of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“It was never just about abortions. It’s about control, ”Ashleman told a crowd of thousands. “My marriage is on the menu, and we can’t and won’t let that happen.”
In New York, thousands of people gathered in Brooklyn Court Square before marching across the Brooklyn Bridge to bring down Manhattan for another rally.
“We’re here for women who can’t be here, and for girls who are too young to know what awaits them,” said Angela Hamlet, 60, of Manhattan, amid the boisterous music.
Robin Sadon, who came from Montclair, New Jersey, to the rally, said the nation is in a place that abortion advocates have long feared.
“They were gnawing all over the edge, and it was always a matter of time before they thought they had enough authority in the Supreme Court that they have now,” 65-year-old Seidon said.
A future Mississippi Supreme Court ruling is expected to mobilize voters, which could affect future by-elections.
In Texas, where there is a strict law banning multiple abortions, a candidate for one of the last Democrats against abortion in Congress spoke in San Antonio.
Jessica Cisneras joined the protesters a few days before the early voting in her primary second round against U.S. MP Henry Cuellar, which could be one of the first tests on whether a leak to court will motivate voters.
In Chicago, Kirsten Nyquist, a nurse with daughters aged 1 and 3, agreed with the need to vote. “Like the federal election, voting in every small election is just as important,” she said.
At many rallies, speakers have voiced the issue sharply, saying people will die if abortions are banned.
In Los Angeles, renowned lawyer Gloria Allred recounted how she failed to have a legal abortion after being raped at gunpoint in the 1960s. She said she had ended her life-threatening bleeding after a “corner” abortion.
“I want you to vote as if your life depends on it, because they depend,” she told the crowd.
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