WASHINGTON (AP) — Protesters facing a Supreme Court ruling that could strike down the constitutional right to abortion aim to use rallies coast-to-coast on Saturday to express their outrage and rally for the fight against to come.
More than 380 events have been held from Maine to Hawaii, with the largest gatherings expected in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other major cities, organizers said.
In the nation’s capital, activists planned to rally at the Washington Monument before heading to the Supreme Court, now surrounded by a security barrier.
Tens of thousands were expected at ‘Bans off our Bodies’ events, providing an outlet for the anger and frustration of abortion rights activists after a Supreme Court bill leaked suggested decision Roe v. Wade will be overthrown.
“If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” said Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March.
Polls show most Americans want to preserve access to abortion — at least in the early stages of pregnancy — but the Supreme Court appears poised to let states have the final say.
If that happens, about half of the states, mostly in the South and Midwest, should quickly ban abortion.
Teisha Kimmons, who traveled 80 miles to attend the Chicago rally, said she fears for women in states that are prepared to ban abortion. She said she might not be alive today if she hadn’t had a legal abortion when she was 15.
“I was already starting to self-harm and I would have rather died than have a baby,” said Kimmons, a massage therapist from Rockford, Illinois.
The upcoming High Court ruling in a Mississippi case is expected to energize voters, potentially shaping the upcoming midterm elections.
Kimmons, 46, said she thought the focus should be on those races. “We have to vote for pro-choice politicians because women’s lives depend on it,” she said.
Kjirsten Nyquist, a nurse, agreed on the need to vote.
“As much as the federal election, voting in every little election matters just as much,” said Nyquist, who rolled her 1-year-old daughter in a stroller and held her 3-year-old’s hand as she walked to the rally in Chicago.
Saturday’s rallies came three days after the Senate failed to muster enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade. Sponsors included Women’s March, Move On, Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, MoveOn, SEIU and other organizations.