As lawmakers prepare for the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned, abortion advocates marched this weekend across the country and here in California.
Over 380 marches from coast to coast are in response to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that suggests the high court would overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling
Hundreds of people gathered at the state Capitol on Saturday for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” march. Modesto and Stockton also had planned marches.
“This is a historic moment, and a moment of crisis, and once again, California is stepping up to provide much-needed national leadership in protecting abortion rights and access to abortion services,” said Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.
At Sacramento’s march, speakers included Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Attorney General Rob Bonta and other elected officials. Legislators since the draft opinion was leaked have been working to add an amendment to the California constitution that would clarify abortion as a protected right, solidifying the state’s status as an abortion sanctuary.
Thousands marched across the country
From Pittsburgh to Nashville, Tennessee, and to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands participated in the “Bans off our Bodies” events. Organizers expected that among the hundreds of events, the largest would take place in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other big cities.
In the nation’s capital, thousands gathered at the Washington Monument before marching to the Supreme Court, which is now surrounded by two layers of security fences.
“I can’t believe that at my age, I’m still having to protest over this,” said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government employee who is preparing for a state-by-state battle over abortion rights.
Saturday’s rallies come three days after the Senate failed to muster enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade.
Polls show that most Americans want to preserve access to abortion — at least in the earlier stages of pregnancy — but the Supreme Court appeared to be poised to let the states have the final say. If that happens, roughly half of the states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are expected to quickly ban abortion.
A half-dozen anti-abortion demonstrators sent out a countering message at the protest in Washington, D.C., with Jonathan Darnel shouting into a microphone, “Abortion is not health care, folks, because pregnancy is not an illness.”