On Saturday, thousands of women marched through the Supreme Court, the Texas Capitol and in cities across the United States to protest rising state restrictions on abortion and advocate for upholding the constitutional right to the procedure.
660 demonstrations across the United States were sparked largely by a Texas law that bans abortions after approximately six weeks of pregnancy. The measure, which went into effect last month, is one of the most restrictive in the country.
“No matter where you live, no matter where you are, this moment is dark,” Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson told the crowd at the “Rally for Abortion Justice” in Washington.
In the Texas capital Austin, hundreds of people gathered in a scorching heat to condemn the so-called “heartbeat” law signed by Governor Greg Abbott. It prohibits abortion after cardiac activity is detected in the fetus, usually at around six weeks. Experts say that between 85% and 90% of women miscarry before most women know they are pregnant.
The law relies on ordinary citizens enforcing the ban, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, if they successfully sue anyone who helps provide an illegal abortion that will cost them at least $10,000. reward is given.
Some of the protesters said that the law would have a reverse effect on the legislators. “I think more people believe in the issue of providing safe abortions than our legislature,” said Austin preschool director, Andrea Roberts, 49.
“Abort Abbott” appeared on several protesters’ signs and T-shirts, while others sported the Texas state slogan, “Come and take it” next to a portrait of the uterus.
Washington protesters marched two days before the US Supreme Court for a session in which judges will consider the Mississippi case, which could enable them to overturn abortion rights established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case.
If the court reversed the precedent, abortion access would not be protected by the Constitution, leaving states free to restrict, limit or allow it without restriction.
Judges had already denied abortion and women’s health providers’ request to halt enforcement of the Texas law in a 5-4 decision on September 1.
“It’s cruel and it sure as hell isn’t Christian,” Kenya Martin of the nonprofit Abortion Care Network told several thousand Washington protesters.
Under sunny skies, protesters chanted, “Ban my body,” “Think outside my box” and “Keep your beads off my ovaries.”
“We’re going in the wrong direction,” said researcher Katy Allen, 67, of the University of Rochester, New York. “This is the tyranny of the minority.”
About two dozen counter-protesters also appeared in support of the anti-abortion laws.
“We want to call on everyone to respect life,” said Albert Steklin, 56, a business administrator from Rockville, Maryland. “The child in the womb deserves no less respect and respect than you or me.”
Women’s March executive director Rachel O’Leary Carmona said the number of marches would be second only to the group’s first protest, which called for millions around the world to rally against former President Donald Trump a day after his inauguration in 2017. gathered people.
A rally and march in New York drew thousands of protesters, including actress Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence.
Abortion rights advocates and the US Department of Justice have challenged the Texas law in state and federal courts, arguing that it violates Roe v. Wade.
A federal judge in Austin on Friday heard the Justice Department’s request to temporarily block the law, while its constitutionality is challenged.