WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn a 50-year-old legal precedent recognising a woman’s right to abortion sparked countrywide protests in the United States on Saturday, as chanting, shouting and weeping marchers filled the streets.
While abortion rights demonstrators took to the streets in cities across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, New Mexico and California by Saturday afternoon, more states are expected to join the protest by Sunday.
In Washington, street demonstrations began outside the SC after the decades-old guarantee of abortion access was struck down. “I have as many rights as (a) gun” owner, declared a placard, referring to a recent decision that further relaxes America’s already loose gun control laws. “We won’t go back,” chanted women protesting outside the Supreme Court, telling the judges they would not allow them to reverse their freedom. CNN described Friday’s decision as “seismic ruling” that would “eliminate the federal constitutional right to an abortion”, adding that the verdict “has roiled the country, fueling protests that began on Friday and were expected to extend throughout the weekend”.
One of the participants in Washington was Carol Foulke, 93, who heard about the repeal at her assisted living home on Friday and told her daughter they needed to join the protest in Washington. She was a family planning social worker for underserved communities before women received the legal protection and said she “knows the impact this repeal will have”.
In New York and Washington, small crowds of anti-abortion activists also came out on the streets, supporting the court’s decision. Police said they arrested at least 20 people in New York. They had not been charged yet. The largest protests were held in Chicago where thousands marched to Grant Park as soon as the court announced its ruling. Police closed multiple streets as more protests were held on Saturday. A large crowd also gathered at Chicago’s Federal Plaza, with some holding signs that read “No abortion bans, not now, not ever!” and “I dream one day women will have the same rights as guns”.
Organisers said Chicago would be the “national centre” for anti-ruling protests as they planned to launch a major campaign for the restoration of abortion rights.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2022