‘Bans Off our Bodies’ Events Draw Thousands

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(Newser)

Abortion rights supporters demonstrating at hundreds of marches and rallies Saturday expressed their outrage that the US Supreme Court will soon scrap the constitutional right to abortion that has endured for nearly a half-century and their fear about what that could mean for women’s reproductive choices. Incensed after a leaked draft opinion suggested the court’s conservative majority would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, activists spoke of the need to mobilize quickly because Republican-led states are poised to enact tighter restrictions, the AP reports.

In the nation’s capital, thousands gathered in light rain at the Washington Monument to listen to fiery speeches before marching to the Supreme Court, which was surrounded by two layers of security fences. The mood was one of anger and defiance. “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. A half-dozen anti-abortion demonstrators sent out a countering message, with Jonathan Darnel shouting into a microphone, “Abortion is not health care, folks, because pregnancy is not an illness.”

From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands participated in “Bans Off our Bodies” events. Organizers expected that among the hundreds of events, the largest would take place in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. For some protesters, the battle was personal. Teisha Kimmons, who traveled 80 miles to the Chicago rally, said she fears for women in states that are ready to ban abortion. She said she might not be alive today if she had not had a legal abortion when she was 15. “I was already starting to self harm, and I would have rather died than have a baby,” said Kimmons, a massage therapist from Rockford, Illinois.

(Read more abortion debate stories.)

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