WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Hundreds of abortion rights advocates protesting at hundreds of marches and rallies on Saturday expressed their displeasure that the Supreme Court is set to overturn the constitutional right to abortion, which has been in place for nearly half a century, and their Afraid of what it might mean. Women’s reproductive choices.
After a leaked draft opinion suggested that the conservative majority of the court were in the historic Roe v. Wade’s decision, activists spoke of the need to mobilize quickly as Republican-led states prepare to impose tougher restrictions.
In the nation’s capital, thousands gathered before marching to the Supreme Court to hear fiery speeches at the Washington Monument during the rainy season, which was surrounded by two layers of security fences.
The mood was one of anger and defiance three days after the Senate failed to garner enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade.
“I can’t believe that at my age, I still have to protest this,” said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government employee who is preparing for a state-by-state fight over abortion rights. Is.
Caitlin Lohr, 34, of Washington, wore a black T-shirt that featured an image of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “Disagree” collar and a necklace that read “Vote.”
“I think women should have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and their lives. And I don’t think banning abortion will stop abortion. It just makes it unsafe and kills a woman.” could take,” Lohr said.
Half a dozen anti-abortion protesters sent a counter-message, with Jonathan Darnell shouting into a microphone, “Abortion is not health care, folks, because pregnancy is not a disease.”
From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, and to Nashville, Tennessee, Lubbock, Texas, thousands of people attended events where “Ban our bodies!” and “My body, my choice!” rang. The gatherings were largely peaceful, but in some cities there were tense clashes between people on opposing sides of the issue.
Polls show that most Americans want to preserve access to abortion — at least in the early stages of pregnancy — but the Supreme Court is set for the states to finalize. If that happens, nearly half of the states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are expected to ban abortions immediately.
The fight was personal for some who came out on Saturday. In Seattle, some protesters took photographic images of conservative judges’ heads on sticks.
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Teisha Kimmons, who traveled 80 miles to participate in the Chicago rally, said she fears for women in states that are set to ban abortions. She said that if she had not had a legal abortion at the age of 15, she might not have been alive today.
“I had already started harming myself and I would have died instead of having a baby,” said Kimmons, a massage therapist from Rockford, Illinois.
At that rally, speaker after speaker said the rights of immigrants, minorities and others would also be “emptied” if abortion were banned, as Amy Ashleman, wife of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, said.
“It’s never been just about abortion. It’s about control,” Ashleman told a crowd of thousands. “My wedding is on the menu and we won’t and won’t let that happen.”
In New York, thousands of people gathered at Courthouse Plaza in Brooklyn ahead of a march in lower Manhattan for another rally across the Brooklyn Bridge.
“We’re here for the women who can’t be here, and for the girls who are too young to know what’s next for them,” said Angela Hamlet, 60, of Manhattan, in the background of booming music. said.
Robin Seidon, who traveled from Montclair, New Jersey, for the rally, said the nation was in a place abortion rights supporters had long feared.
“They’ve been gnawing at the edges, and it was always a matter of time before they thought they had enough power over the Supreme Court, which they now have,” said 65-year-old Seidon.
An upcoming High Court ruling in a Mississippi case is meant to energize voters, potentially shaping the upcoming midterm elections.
In Texas, which has a strict law banning multiple abortions, a challenger to one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress marched in San Antonio.
Jessica Cisneros joined protesters just days before early voting began in her primary runoff against U.S. Representative Henry Kueller, in what could be one of the first trials to get voters excited by a court leak.
In Chicago, Kjirsten Nyquist, a nurse caring for 1- and 3-year-old daughters, agreed about the need to vote. “As much as the federal election, the turnout in every smaller election matters as much,” she said.
At several rallies, speakers have strongly worded the issue, saying people will die if abortion is outlawed.
In Los Angeles, high-profile attorney Gloria Allred described how she couldn’t get a legal abortion after being raped at gunpoint in the 1960s. She said she had life-threatening bleeding after a “back alley” abortion.
“I want you to vote as if your life depends on it, because they do,” she told the crowd.
Rapid notification from Portland, Maine. Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago, David Porter in New York, Paul Weber in San Antonio and Jacqueline Martin, Gary Fields and Anna Johnson in Washington contributed to this report.