Massive protests swept across the United States on Friday in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the constitutional right to abortion.
Shortly after the ruling was released, reversing federal reproductive protections that had been in place for half a century, pro-choice protesters began gathering in cities and towns across a wide spectrum. communities and regions.
In addition to the large demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC – where activists shouted: “This ruling must not stand! Legal abortion on demand! and “We won’t be going back!” – demonstrators gathered New York City, AngelsChicago, Austin, Nashville, Kansas City, Tallahassee, Oklahoma and Detroit. Solidarity protests have also erupted overseas in London and Berlin.
“I’m grieving and also very angry, and I want to turn that feeling into something where I can be part of the solution,” said Mary McNamara, a San Francisco attorney who was heading to a protest in North America. California. town. “We need to take to the streets and make our voices heard, even in blue states where our rights are protected. This is one of the most important decisions of the past 50 years…and we are entering a very dark era.
McNamara is president of the San Francisco Bar Association, which organizes to provide free legal services to those affected by the end of the Roe v Wade protections. She added, “I don’t think the Supreme Court is going to stop there. I think this is the beginning of a massive retrenchment of individual rights.
In Washington Square park in New York, Lucy Schneider, 101, arrived with her granddaughter and carried a sign that read Centenarian for Choice. “I am very opposed to the current Supreme Court and everything it does. It’s just awful,” she said, adding, “I want her to be free to have an abortion if needed. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I want her to be able to.
Her granddaughter, Emily Savin, 36, said she’s been advocating for choice since high school.
“It was important for me to fight for it. I don’t think I could fully understand that it could really be taken away…I’m heartbroken and angry.
Nearby Kelsey Clough, 29, said: ‘It was not an option not to be here. I feel like my whole life is falling apart when I see little kids getting shot in a classroom and all I see are politicians trying to control what I do. I feel pretty helpless, but if me being here holding my sign is going to help people, I want to be.
In Washington DC, outside the Supreme Court, protester Sara Kugler said, “This is a 30-year fight to overturn the basic rights of women and people to make decisions about their bodies. There is no coming back from that. There is no response other than outrage and action.
Anti-abortion activists also gathered outside the court to celebrate the ruling shortly after it was announced, while critics sung that the court was “illegitimate”. Elsewhere in the nation’s capital, a pro-choice protester closed a bridge after climbing over its arch and called on others to engage in nonviolent civil resistance.
In Missouri, one of the states with a “trigger law” to automatically ban abortion after the Roe decision, an escort from an abortion clinic in the city of Jackson told a reporter: “ We examine suffering and death. How should we feel? We see what is coming. Those who have the means, they will get what they need. Those who don’t, they will suffer. America is not ready for what is about to happen.
Cori Bush, the congresswoman from Missouri who spoke out on her own teenage abortion, tweeted: “Abortion care is health care. It was so before that. And it will remain so after that. We don’t care what a far-right Supreme Court says in a crisis of legitimacy. Your racist, sexist and classist decision will not prevent us from accessing the care we need.
Indra Lusero, director of Elephant Circle, a birth justice organization, who was heading to a protest in Grand Junction, Colorado, said the decision was not surprising, but still painful to absorb: “It affects some of us directly in our bodies. I felt it physiologically. It involves our physical autonomy so fundamentally.
Lusero said they are thinking about the disparate harms of the decision as more and more pregnant women are unable to have an abortion: “When people are forced to carry a pregnancy to term, there are risks involved, and those risks are not borne equally because of the inequities inherent in our system. Blacks and Indigenous people in particular are more likely to experience mortality.
In some liberal cities, progressive activists have said they want to see a more aggressive response from elected Democrats. In San Francisco, Jackie Fielder, a former state Senate candidate, said she was frustrated to see Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fundraising for the decision given her recent support for a Democrat anti-abortion and lack of action to expand the Supreme Court or abolish the filibuster: “It’s hard to believe that the Democratic leaders are going to do anything.”
She added, “We are very privileged in California to have access to abortion and other avenues of reproductive justice, but we really need to dig deep to figure out how to support people in other states. Its a question of life or death. »
Lauren Burke contributed reporting.