Thousands of abortion rights supporters rallied across the United States on Saturday, outraged by the prospect that the Supreme Court may soon seek the historic Roe v. Wade’s decision that legalized abortion across the country half a century ago.
The protests predicted organizers would lead to a “heat of anger”, ignited by the disclosure of a draft opinion on May 2 that showed the court’s conservative majority prepared to overturn a 1973 ruling that allowed a woman to become pregnant. constitutional right to abolish
The court’s final ruling, which could return the power to ban abortions to state legislatures, is expected in June. With nearly half of the 50 states ready to ban or severely restrict abortion, Roe should be removed almost immediately.
“If you can’t choose whether you want to have a child, if that’s not a fundamental right, I don’t know what is,” said Brita van Rossum, 62, a landscape designer who incorporated from suburban Philadelphia. had traveled to be. Abortion-rights rally in the nation’s capital, her first.
Demonstrators under the slogan “Ban of Our Bodies” took to the streets from New York and Atlanta to Chicago and Los Angeles, in what Democrats hoped would help support their party and Republican gains in November’s elections. will be estimated.
The biggest demonstration of the day took place in Washington, where organizers estimated a crowd of 20,000 gathered at the Washington Monument and it rained lightly to march along the National Mall from the US Capitol to the Supreme Court.
As the procession approached the courthouse’s marble columns, the rally erupted with slogans of “Shame on you” and “Ban our bodies”.
Surrounded by police were a group of a few dozen counter-protesters, carrying signs: “End abortion violence” and “Women’s rights begin in the womb.”
The encounter between the two sides turned tense at times. Abortion rights protesters shouted, “Go home!” And after a verbal exchange of words, a man hit a counter-protester on the head with his poster. As anti-abortion protesters left, they waved at the crowd, and some called out, “Goodbye, Roe v. Wade!”
The rally was otherwise peaceful, although at least one counter-protester was seen by a security guard in Washington earlier in the day.
‘Women as Objects’
The mood in New York City was similarly energetic and sometimes controversial, as thousands of abortion rights supporters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, where they encountered half a dozen anti-abortion activists.
On taunts and obscene acts, the police officers came to maintain distance between the two groups. In the afternoon, the crowd reduced due to rain in the city.
Elizabeth Holtzman, an 80-year-old former congressman who represented New York from 1973 to 1981, said the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion “considers women as objects, less than perfect human beings.”
Critical care nurse Malcolm DeCesare, 34, who attended a Los Angeles rally under sunny skies, said ending legal abortion rights could put lives at risk as women seek unsafe alternatives.
Celebrity women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred told the crowd about her “back alley abortion” as a young woman while pregnant from a rape at gunpoint before crying. “I almost died,” she said. “I was left in a bathtub in a pool of my own blood, hemorrhaging.”
US Representative Sean Castane and his 15-year-old daughter, Audrey, were among several thousand abortion rights supporters gathered in a Chicago park.
Castane, whose district includes the western suburbs of Chicago, told Reuters it was “terrible” that the conservative majority of the Supreme Court would consider taking abortion rights away and “condemn this low status of women.”
At an abortion rights protest in Atlanta, more than 400 people gathered in a small park in front of the State Capitol, while about a dozen counter-protesters stood on a nearby sidewalk.
Bria Marshall, 23, a recent public health graduate from Kennesaw State University, acknowledged her group’s small turnout, wearing a sign that read “Stop Child Sacrifice.”
“Jesus had a smaller group, but his message was more powerful,” Marshall said.
While the Supreme Court pushed abortion to the forefront of American politics, it was unclear how the issue would play out in the coming elections.
Voters will weigh a number of priorities such as inflation and may cast doubt on the ability of Democrats to protect abortion access after legislation that would thwart abortion rights into federal law.
Many of those who marched on Saturday expressed fears that the withdrawal of abortion rights would generally erode civil liberties.
Los Angeles musician Joel Altschuler, 73, said, “It’s an insult to everything I believe we’re about to think about.” “If a woman has no control over what’s going to happen to her body, we’re back to 1850, not 1950.