WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — Abortion rights advocates took to the streets across the United States on Saturday to express their anger over the possibility that the Supreme Court would soon overturn the constitutional right to abortion. The slogans “My Body, My Choice” were raised as activists committed to fighting for legal protections lasted for nearly half a century.
Angered by a leaked draft opinion that suggested the Conservative majority in the court was in the historic Roe v. Wade’s decision, activists rallied to express their outrage and mobilize for the future as Republican-led states prepare to impose tougher restrictions.
In the nation’s capital, thousands gathered during the rainy season to hear fiery speeches at the Washington Monument before marching to the Supreme Court, which is now surrounded by two layers of security fences.
The mood was that of anger and defiance.
“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 Pasadena, California, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands participated in “ban from our bodies” events. Organizers expected the largest of the hundreds of events to take place in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other large cities.
“If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, said before the march.
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.
For some protesters, the fight was personal.
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 told the crowd that the rights of immigrants, minorities and others would also be “emptied” if abortion were banned, as Amy Ashleyman, wife of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, said. Was.
“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 let that happen and we won’t let that happen.”
In New York, thousands of people gathered at Courthouse Plaza in Brooklyn before a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan, where another rally was planned.
“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 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 US Representative Henry Kueller. The race could be one of the first tests of whether court leaks will motivate voters.
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.
Saturday’s rallies come three days after the Senate failed to garner enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade. Sponsors included Women’s March, Move On, Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, MoveOn, SEIU and other organizations.
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 and Anna Johnson in Washington contributed to this report.