At the Los Angeles rally, Megan Triay was at her first reproductive rights protest on Saturday.
“This is crazy. Abortion is healthcare. It’s human rights,” she said. “It’s so hard to put into words how insane it is that you have to explain it’s my body, it’s my choice.”
Triay missed work to join thousands of other protesters at the Bans Off Our Bodies rally in LA: “I might get fired but I had to be here.”
“I’ve been in this position. I don’t regret my abortion, she said, describing how she was terrified and healthcare workers treated her with compassion and care. “To think woman after me aren’t going to get that care … There is no way this can happen.”
DC abortion rights activists marching to Supreme Court
Gloria Allred, women’s right lawyer, has shared the story of an illegal abortion she had in California in the 1960s, telling a grim story about the US before Roe V Wade became the law of the land.
At a rally in Los Angeles, Allred, who has represented women in cases against Bill Cosby, Donald Trump and Roman Polanski, described how she became pregnant after being raped at gunpoint and then nearly died from the abortion.
“I was left in a bathtub in a pool of my own blood,” the renowned feminist said. “A nurse said to me: I hope this teaches you a lesson. It did reach me a lesson, but not the one she wanted.”
“Abortion must be safe, it must be legal, it must be affordable, it must be available.”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters just spoke at a reproductive rights rally in Los Angeles, telling the thousands outside city hall: “We are not backing down.”
“We are not about to give up control of our body because of the supreme court or anyone else,” she said.
The crowd greeted Waters, a longtime US representative, with thunderous applause, cheering louder under the morning sun as she said “we are going to fight like hell. We are going to fight until our right are restored”.
Thousands of people have filled up the blocks between a federal courthouse and city hall, carrying signs reading “Bans off our bodies”, “Stop the Supreme Court” and “Abortion is healthcare”, and dancing in between speeches from lawmakers and actors.
Congresswoman Karen Bass, LA mayoral candidate, led the crowd in cheers: “We will fight. We will vote.”
Anti-choice protesters filled up street corners around the protest, sometimes preaching through loudspeakers. Opponents took to the skies, leaving aerial messages overhead that said “Alex Jones was right” and promoted the website for a conservative news outlet.
People who have turned up at the protests spoke of their alarm over the prospect of losing a right that women have relied upon for the past 50 years. “How can they take away what I feel is a human right from us?” said Julie Kinsella, a teacher who took part in the New York protest. Kinsella said she felt “anger” and “outrage” when she heard the news of the draft opinion.
“It just made me think: what direction is the US moving toward with that decision?” she said. “We have made so much progress up until this point. I would just hate to see us backtrack and fight for what we already have right now.”
Pro-choice advocates rally in DC and listen to speakers at the National Mall
New York city protesters cross the Brooklyn bridge into Manhattan
Abortion rights protesters marching in Chicago
At a rally in Chicago, speaker after speaker told the crowd that if abortion is banned that the rights of immigrants, minorities and others will also be “gutted,” as Amy Eshleman, wife of Chicago Mayor Lori lightfoot put it. “This has never been just about abortion. It’s about control,” Eshleman told the crowd of thousands. “My marriage is on the menu and we cannot and will not let that happen,” she added.
Kjirsten Nyquist, a nurse toting daughters ages 1 and 3, agreed about the need to vote. “As much as federal elections, voting in every small election matters just as much,” she said.
From Pittsburgh to Pasadena, California, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands are participating 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. “If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, said before the march.
Thousands rally in Washington DC
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.
Caitlin Loehr, 34, of Washington, wore a black T-shirt with an image of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “dissent” collar on it and a necklace that spelled out “vote.”
“I think that 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 unsafe and can cost a woman her life,” Loehr said.
As one of the New York city protests moved onto the entrance of the Brooklyn bridge, demonstrators chanted “Bans off our bodies now!” Drummers in the procession provided a powerful rhythm alongside the chants. “This bridge represents all of the states in this nation. We will not be divided!” New York state attorney General Letitia James said.
Striking images have emerged from the Bans Off Our Bodies rally in Washington DC.
Here are a few:
People of all ages, races and genders marching for abortion rights
Protesters have started to march from Cadman Plaza, in Brooklyn, toward the Brooklyn Bridge, en route to Downtown Manhattan, in a demonstration for reproductive health rights. It is one of hundreds of demonstrations across the US following a leaked draft Supreme Court decision that suggests the justices will vote to overturn Roe v Wade, which legalized abortion in the US.
The mood among the two-to-three thousand present is enthusiasm marked by solemnity. People of all ages, races, and genders are participating in this walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The front line is carrying a green sign that reads “Our bodies, our abortions.” Others hold signs that read “Abortion is healthcare” and “My body, my choice.”
“I always want my right to an abortion to be free and accessible,” protester Nicole Cornell 22, told The Guardian. “It’s my own choice to be pregnant. I don’t want the government to infringe on that right.” Protesters are also expected to gather in New York City’s Union Square at 2 pm.
Abortion rights activists are rallying outside Texas’s State Capitol:
As the US braces for the end of a federal right to abortion, a new six-week ban in Oklahoma offers a preview of what’s to come.
The day after the supreme court leak, Andrea Gallegos had already started to cancel patients’ appointments.
In the aftermath, Gallegos, the administrator for Tulsa Women’s Clinic, an Oklahoma-based abortion provider, wasn’t worried about Roe – at least, it wasn’t the first thing she was worried about.
To her, there was a bigger, more immediate threat: a six-week abortion ban the Republican governor was expected to sign any day now.
That same evening, to little fanfare, Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law the six-week abortion ban. The state supreme court declined to block the ban. If the clinic saw their patients on Wednesday, they risked civil lawsuits with a penalty of up to $10,000.
So Gallegos did what she had dreaded. She began calling back patients who were past six weeks pregnant. The scheduled appointments would have to be canceled. If they wanted to seek an abortion, she told them, they should look somewhere else – Kansas, New Mexico or, a bit further away, Colorado.
More protesters arrive in New York