Abortion rights activist rally at the Washington Monument before a march to the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 14, 2022 Photo: AFP
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Thousands rally across U.S. for abortion rights

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By Maggy DONALDSON

Thousands of activists, many in pink, took to the streets across the United States on Saturday in a national day of action calling for safe and legal access to abortion.

The demonstrations are a response to leaked draft opinion showing the United States Supreme Court's conservative majority is considering overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion access nationwide.

"I just think that nobody has the right to make a decision on somebody else's body," said Hanna Williamson, 20, from the city of Suffolk, Virginia, who drove three hours to join several thousand protesters in Washington. "I think it should be left up to every individual. I am fighting for everyone else's rights in this."

About 3,000 people assembled in a central square in Brooklyn and prepared to carry a giant pink banner that read: "Our Bodies. Our Futures. Our Abortions." The protesters, who included Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other influential Democrats, were of all genders and ages and many wore green.

"These are a group of people in this country who are working to dismantle 60 years of civil rights and civil liberties of the United States of America," Linda Sarsour, a women's rights activist, told AFP.

"And so we respect everybody's right to hold whatever religious belief or whatever opinion they have on an issue like abortion, women's reproductive rights, but what we want you to know is that you can be you and allow people to still have access to safe, affordable, women's reproductive (care)," Sarsour said.

Thousands also rallied in Texas and Kentucky, and more protests were planned in other major cities as well as at hundreds of smaller events across the country.

"This Saturday, our elected leaders hear us, Supreme Court justices hear us, companies who've funded anti-abortion interests hear us," Sonja Spoo, director of reproductive rights campaigns at the advocacy organization UltraViolet, said in a statement to AFP earlier in the day.

"We will be prepared to meet the moment, whether that's rallying in the streets, petitioning state officials -- whatever it takes."

The leak of the draft opinion has ignited fury over the potential rollback of abortion rights ahead of November's key midterm elections, when control of both congressional chambers is at stake.

Democrats have pushed to codify abortion rights into federal law, a bid to pin down Republicans on the deeply divisive issue ahead of the crucial polls.

The House-passed Women's Health Protection Act would assure health care professionals have the right to provide abortions and that patients have the right to receive them.

But Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate tanked the effort to advance the measure last week.

The legislative result does not square with American opinion at large: a new Politico/Morning Consult poll has 53 percent of voters saying Roe should not be overturned, up three percentage points since last week, while 58 percent said it was important to vote for a candidate who supports abortion access.

Republican-controlled states already have taken steps to restrict abortion rights in recent months, and overturning Roe v. Wade would grant them far greater latitude to restrict or ban the procedure.

The right to access abortion has long triggered activism, but the Supreme Court leak has spurred an uptick in demonstrations, including outside the homes of justices.

The largely peaceful protests have drawn Republican criticism over privacy rights of court members, but activists have responded by pointing to years of often violent protests outside abortion clinics and at the homes of doctors providing the medical procedure.

And many have cited the pending Supreme Court decision as a far greater invasion of privacy.

In Washington, protesters, many dressed in pink or carrying pink posters, marched toward the Supreme Court. Some carried placards that read "My body my choice" and "Keep your laws off my body."

"It's very important to be here to take a stand and really say to the people who are making these decisions that women want choices and they want freedom to have that choice," said Viesha Floyd, 32, from the town of Waldorf, Maryland.

"And it's important for us to speak up for that and the best way to do that is through protest. The reason I’m here is for those women, the future generations," she added.

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


9 Comments

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Why Republicans are doomed in November

8 ( +10 / -2 )

No, they’re not.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Will Biden polling at 37%, his last straw is to use the Abortion card as 51% of the population are women, and women don’t want the government to control their bodies and rights.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Repubs extreme position on abortion - that it's not allowed even in cases of rape and incest, will ensure their doom in Nov 2022/24....

The American people don't want to live in a country where the state controls their bodies...no different than the Taliban...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The American people don't want to live in a country where the state controls their bodies...no different than the Taliban...

Yet most Americans would agree that there is no "right" to slit your own wrist and if you pay someone to do that for you, that person would be charged with murder.

Any action that violates the sanctity of the human body is wrong.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Women's reproductive rights

People's reproductive rights !

Women seem to conveniently ignore the fact that men have anything to do with a pregnancy.

Iam pro choice and that includes both people that are responsible for the pregnancy

Freedom to chose abortion by both of the consenting people that created the pregnancy.

Not only a woman's choice .

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Repubs extreme position on abortion -

You can make the same argument about Democrats when it comes to the abortion issue.

that it's not allowed even in cases of rape and incest, will ensure their doom in Nov 2022/24....

Then drive to another State where you can get one, not that hard to do with the technology we have, remember; abortions are NOT outlawed and never will be, but the States should be allowed to vote as to which way they want to go with this, California wants it legalized, so be it. Louisiana doesn't. so be it.

The American people don't want to live in a country where the state controls their bodies...

The American people don't want to live in a country where the state kills babies...

no different than the Taliban...

When you watch an abortion being performed

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

You can do whatever you like with your body but not to the extreme of stopping a human heartbeat. Abortion is the outcome, what caused it should be addressed first and foremost.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Amazing, the people protesting something that HASNT happened yet. The euphemisms are strong with this crowd for sure- "health care" , "reproductive rights", I just hope they don't forget that this is NOT a "women's issue". There are many other kinds of birthing persons out there...

Lincolnman is strawmanning madly trying to portray a Republican position that does not exist. That is the point of the possible ruling- states can and should decide this by themselves without federal interference. I understand that the Democrats will try to make this an election issue, but it won't work. The timing is off- by November this will be largely forgotten. Plus for most people, there are far more important things to worry about. Polling shows that inflation, education, border security, and crime are all far more important to voters.

As for "choice", women already have myriad choices- abstinence, contraception, adoption, and motherhood. While I personally find adding a fifth choice (death) to be extreme, I recognize that the public is not on board. So up front, here is what I would propose. I invite others to stop euphemizing and state their position clearly here to we can know where we all stand....

a/ First trimester abortions are made legal, especially with the advent of medicine to induce abortion.

b/ After that, only for rape/crime/potential fatal medical condition of the mother. Abortions at this point become medical procedures and necessitate some gruesome procedures that would make any sane person violently ill and severely upset.

c/ States that try to limit women travelling or seeking abortions in other states should shut up.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

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