People protest in reaction to the leak of the US Supreme Court draft abortion ruling on May 3, 2022 in New York – Copyright AFP/File bERTRAND GUAY
Displaying placards with slogans like “My body, my choice,” thousands protested in New York City late Tuesday after a leaked draft ruling indicated that the Supreme Court planned to end nationwide legal abortion.
The several-thousand-strong crowd of men and women, young and old, chanted “Abortion is a human right, fight fight fight,” as they rallied outside the federal court house in Lower Manhattan.
Many wore green, the color adopted by abortion rights campaigners.
They carried signs emblazoned with messages such as “I’m a woman, not a womb,” “Keep abortion legal,” “Stop the war against women,” and “I will have fewer rights than my mother.”
“You can only ban safe abortion. You cannot prevent women from taking their own reproductive choices out of their own hands. That’s a fantasy,” 35-year-old Kaytlin Bailey told AFP.
Lauren Workman, 22, said the attitude of the six conservative justices on the Supreme Court was “an illustration of how much is wrong with this country.”
She told AFP she thought that any ban on abortion would disproportionately impact poorer women and those from communities of color.
“This is not just a reproductive justice issue. This is a racial justice issue. This is an economic justice issue.
“So when we’re looking at this, we can’t look at it with a narrow focus and if we’re gonna make this fight worthwhile, we have to fight it from every angle,” Workman said.
If the draft ruling is confirmed by the court, it would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which enshrined abortion rights across the country.
Instantly, abortion laws would be left up to individual state legislatures, with as many as half expected to enact bans or new restrictions.
– ‘Critical juncture’ –
Seventy-three-year-old protester Liza, who didn’t give her last name, said she never imagined she might have to again fight for the right of women to have abortions.
“I remember being in rallies like this in the ’60s and ’70s. I did not believe that we will be back,” she told AFP.
Republicans have been pushing hard for years to overturn Roe.
In New York City, a liberal bastion, state attorney general Letitia James, rallied demonstrators by saying, “This is not the time to be silent.”
“We’ve got to be angry. We’ve got to take that emotion and turn it into action,” said the Democrat.
“Because right now, we stand at a critical juncture. We stand together on the front lines of one of the greatest fights that we will ever have.”
Earlier, New York governor Kathy Hochul, also a Democrat, said abortion rights would be protected in her state.
“For anyone who needs access to care, our state will welcome you with open arms. Abortion will always be safe and accessible in New York,” she tweeted.
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