© Reuters.FILE PHOTO: Some activists for abortion rights, including center-right Hannah Yost, joined an anti-abortion activist named Joe Green after installing an anti-climb fence outside the U.S. Supreme Court building men quarrel
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of abortion rights supporters gathered across the U.S. on Saturday to protest if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide, organizers said It will be “Summer of Rage”.
Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March and other abortion rights groups organized more than 400 “Stop Our Bodies” marches on Saturday, with the largest attendances expected in New York City, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The demonstrations were in response to a leaked May 2 draft opinion showing the court’s conservative majority preparing to overturn a landmark 1973 decision that established the federal constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
The court is expected to make a final ruling in June that could give states the power to ban abortion. About half of U.S. states are likely to ban or severely restrict abortion soon after a ruling quashing Roe.
Organizers said they expected hundreds of thousands of people to attend Saturday’s event, which they said would be the first of many coordinated protests surrounding the Supreme Court ruling.
“It’s going to be an angry summer for the women of this country,” said Rachel Carmona, president of the Women’s March. “Until this government starts working for us, until the attacks on our bodies stop, until abortion rights are codified into law, we will not be able to govern.”
Thousands of abortion supporters began to gather in Chicago parks Saturday morning, including U.S. Representative Sean Carsten and his 15-year-old daughter Audrey.
Carsten, whose area includes Chicago’s western suburbs, told Reuters it was “horrible” that the conservative Supreme Court would consider denying abortion rights and “denounce women in this lower position.”
Democrats, who currently control the White House and both chambers of Congress, hope that a backlash against the Supreme Court ruling will give their party’s nominee a victory in November’s congressional elections.
But voters, who will weigh abortion rights against other issues such as soaring food and gas prices, may be skeptical of Democrats’ ability to protect access to abortion after efforts to pass legislation that would enshrine abortion rights into federal law failed.
During an abortion rights protest in Atlanta, more than 400 people gathered in a small park in front of the state capitol.
Elizabeth Murphy, 40, a sales representative in nearby Cobb County and a lifelong Democrat, said she believes abortion rights supporters will run in November’s midterm elections.
“I vote, and this time I tell everyone I know to vote,” she said.
Downtown Brooklyn was buzzing Saturday as thousands of abortion rights supporters prepared to cross the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.
Elizabeth Holzman, an 80-year-old marcher who represented New York in Congress from 1973-1981, said the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion “sees women as objects, not whole people.”
“I have fought for women’s rights for 50 years and I will not give up,” she said.
Abortion rights supporters in Washington meet at the Washington Monument and plan to walk to the Supreme Court. In Los Angeles, protesters planned to rally at City Hall, and a group in Austin will rally at the Texas State Capitol.
Protesters have gathered outside the home of Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh over the past week as they voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to leaked opinions.
Justice Clarence Thomas told a conference in Dallas on Friday that trust within the court “was gone forever” following the leak.
“When you lose that trust, especially in my institution, it fundamentally changes the institution,” the conservative judge said.
American Student Life, an anti-abortion advocacy group with campus chapters across the country, said anti-abortion protests will be held in nine cities including Washington on Saturday.