Thousands flock to abortion-rights rallies across the US

By Eduard Ribas i Admetlla

Washington, May 14 (EFE).- Thousands of women took part Saturday in protests across the United States to demand protection for abortion rights as the Supreme Court looks poised to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability.

Concerns that Roe is in jeopardy surged following the leak of a draft ruling by the 9-member court’s six conservative justices that abrogate constitutional protections for abortion and leave the matter to be decided by the 50 individual states.

Overturning Roe v. Wade “would be devastating and terrible,” Planned Parenthood spokesperson Gabriela Benazar told Efe.

“Bans Off Our Bodies” was the theme of the more than 430 events planned for cities and towns the length and breadth of the country.

One of the best-attended mobilizations took place in New York, where thousands marched across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan for a rally in Foley Square, home to a federal courthouse.

Isabel Gadd came to the square with her 74-year-old grandmother, Irna, who told Efe that she had never imagined the right to abortion would be threatened.

“I have been very naive and now I’m disconsolate,” she said.

Here in the nation’s capital, thousands of people marched from the Washington Monument to the Supreme Court, now surrounded by a double-ring of fences in response to the protests that followed the leak of the draft ruling.

In comments to Efe, Washington resident Gloria Black likened the conservative justices to the Taliban and said that the court should not try to “dictate morality.”

On the other side of the country, some 5,000 women stood in front of city hall in Los Angeles and chanted, “My body, my choice.”

“Women will be in danger if they prohibit legal abortion and we will not stay silent,” Emiliana Guereca, founder and CEO of Women’s March Action, told Efe.

In 1973, when the Supreme Court nation’s highest court found in favor of Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) in her suit against the state of Texas for prohibiting her from having an abortion, the procedure was only legal in 17 of the 50 states and illegal abortions were common.

And women may be facing a similar situation by the middle of this year if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe when it rules on a challenge to a Mississippi law prohibiting abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy.

In that event, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights think-tank, 26 Republican-controlled states will likely move to outlaw abortion. Some have already passed abortion bans – known as “trigger laws” – set to take effect automatically if Roe is overturned.

Planned Parenthood says that those 26 states are home to 36 million women of child-bearing age.

An end to nationwide legal protection for abortion would have a “very disproportionate” impact on low-income minority women who lack the means to travel to another state to terminate a pregnancy, Benazar said.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll found that 54 percent of Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade. EFE er-jfu-gac/dr

Related Articles

Back to top button