In Tampa and across the United States, rally to support the right to abortion


WASHINGTON — Abortion-rights supporters who demonstrated Saturday at hundreds of marches and rallies expressed outrage that the Supreme Court appears set to drop the nearly half-year-old constitutional right to abortion. century and their fear of what it might mean for women’s reproductive choices.

Furious after a draft notice disclosed suggested the court’s conservative majority would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade Decisionactivists have spoken of the need to mobilize quickly as Republican-led states are poised to pass tougher restrictions.

In the nation’s capital, thousands of people gathered in rainy weather at the Washington Monument to listen to fiery speeches before heading to the Supreme Court, which was surrounded by two layers of security barriers.

The mood was one of anger and defiance, three days later the Senate failed to muster enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade.

“I can’t believe that at my age I still have to protest this,” said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government worker who is preparing for a state-by-state battle over the right to abortion.

Caitlin Loehr, 34, of Washington, wore a black t-shirt with an image of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “dissident” necklace and a necklace that spelled “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 dangerous and can cost a woman her life,” Loehr said.

Half a dozen anti-abortion protesters sent out a counter message, with Jonathan Darnel shouting into a microphone: ‘Abortion is not health care, folks, because pregnancy is not a disease “.

From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, and from Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands of people participated in events, where chants of “Banish Our Bodies!” and “My body, my choice!” rang. The rallies were largely peaceful, but in some cities there were tense clashes between people on opposite sides over the issue.

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.

The battle was personal for some who came out on Saturday. In Seattle, some protesters carried photographic images of heads of conservative judges on sticks.

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.

At this rally, speaker after speaker said that while abortion is banned, the rights of immigrants, minorities and others will also be “gutted,” as Amy Eshleman, wife of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, put it.

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“It was never just about abortion. It’s about control,” Eshleman told the crowd of thousands. “My wedding is on the menu and we cannot and will not let that happen.”

In New York, thousands gathered in Brooklyn Courthouse Square ahead of a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan for another rally.

“We’re here for the women who can’t be here and for the girls who are too young to know what’s to come,” said Angela Hamlet, 60, of Manhattan, amid booming music.

Robin Seidon, who traveled from Montclair, New Jersey, for the rally, said the nation was a place abortion rights supporters had long feared.

“They nibbled at the edges, and it was always a matter of time before they thought they had enough power on the Supreme Court, which they have now,” Seidon, 65, said.

Upcoming High Court ruling in Mississippi case set to energize voters, potentially shaping the upcoming midterm elections.

In Texas, where a strict law prohibits many abortions, the challenger of one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress marched in San Antonio.

Jessica Cisneros joined the protesters just days before the start of early voting in her runoff against U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, which could be one of the first tests of whether the legal leak will galvanize voters.

In Chicago, Kjirsten Nyquist, a nurse carrying girls aged 1 and 3, agreed on the need to vote. “As much as federal elections, voting in every little election matters just as much,” she said.

Speakers at many rallies put the issue in stark terms, saying people would die if abortions were banned.

In Los Angeles, high-profile attorney Gloria Allred told how she couldn’t get a legal abortion after being raped at gunpoint in the 1960s. She said she ended up having life-threatening bleeding after “back alley” abortion.

“I want you to vote like your life depends on it, because it does,” she told the crowd.

By Associated Press writers Ashraf Khalil and David Sharp, who reported from Portland, Maine. Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago, David Porter in New York, Paul Weber in San Antonio and Jacquelyn Martin, Gary Fields and Anna Johnson in Washington contributed to this report.


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