US abortion rights activists begin ‘summer of rage’ with Saturday protests


WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – Thousands of abortion rights supporters gathered for protests across the United States on Saturday, beginning what organizers called a “summer of rage” if the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Planned Parenthood, Women’s March and other abortion rights groups held more than 400 “Bans Off Our Bodies” marches on Saturday, with the biggest turnouts expected in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The protests are in response to the May 2 leak of a draft opinion showing the court’s conservative majority prepared to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling that established a federal constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

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The court’s final ruling, which could give states the power to ban abortion, is expected in June. About half of U.S. states could ban or severely restrict abortion soon after a ruling overturns Roe. Read more

Organizers said they expected hundreds of thousands of people to attend Saturday’s events, which they said would be the first of many coordinated protests around the Supreme Court ruling.

“For the women of this country, it will be a summer of rage,” said Rachel Carmona, president of the Women’s March. “We will be ungovernable until this government starts working for us, until the attacks on our bodies stop, until the right to abortion is codified in law.”

Several thousand abortion supporters began gathering in a Chicago park on Saturday morning, including U.S. Representative Sean Casten and his 15-year-old daughter Audrey.

Casten, whose district includes the western suburbs of Chicago, told Reuters it was “awful” that the conservative Supreme Court was considering removing abortion rights and “condemning women to this lower status”.

Democrats, who currently hold the White House and both houses of Congress, hope the backlash from the Supreme Court’s decision will lead their party’s candidates to victory in the November legislative election. Read more

But voters will weigh abortion rights against other issues like soaring food and gas prices, and they might be skeptical about Democrats’ ability to protect access to abortion. after the failure of efforts to pass legislation that would enshrine the right to abortion in federal law. Read more

At an abortion rights protest in Atlanta, more than 400 people gathered in a small park outside the state capitol.

Elizabeth Murphy, 40, a trade representative for neighboring Cobb County and a longtime Democrat, said she believes abortion-rights supporters will run in November’s midterm elections.

“I’m voting and this time I’m telling everyone I know to vote,” she said.

The mood was energetic in downtown Brooklyn on Saturday as thousands of abortion-rights supporters prepared to cross the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.

Elizabeth Holtzman, an 80-year-old walker who represented New York in Congress from 1973 to 1981, said the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion “treats women as objects, as full human beings.”

“I’ve been fighting for women’s rights for 50 years and I’m not going to give up,” she said.

Abortion rights supporters in Washington met at the Washington Monument with the intention of marching to the Supreme Court. In Los Angeles, protesters planned to meet at City Hall and a group from Austin was scheduled to meet at the Texas State Capitol.

Last week, protesters gathered outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to the leaked opinion.

Judge Clarence Thomas told a conference in Dallas on Friday that trust in the court was “gone forever” as a result of the leak.

“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution I’m in, it fundamentally changes the institution,” the conservative judge said.

Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion advocacy group with chapters on campuses across the country, said it was holding counter-protests Saturday in nine cities, including Washington.

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Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Washington; Additional reporting by Eric Cox in Chicago, Maria Caspani in New York and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Written by Ted Hesson; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Cynthia Osterman, Grant McCool and Mark Porter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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