WASHINGTON — Abortion-rights protests around the United States were planned Tuesday in response to the leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.
Demonstrators gathered Monday outside the Supreme Court in Washington and returned Tuesday after a Politico report detailed the draft from Associate Justice Samuel Alito that said, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
Organizers from the Women’s Marcha global protest held the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, called on supporters of abortion rights to rally outside federal courthouses and other government buildings Tuesday evening.
Both abortion-rights and anti-abortion activists rallied outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, holding signs and chanting into megaphones.
George Washington University freshmen Ellie Small, 19, and Emma Hearns, 18, took a break from studying for finals Tuesday to join the protest for abortion rights.
“We are here because it’s a really scary time to be a young woman,” Small said.
WHAT WE KNOW:What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned?
Elsewhere in the United States, demonstrations were also being organized.
A call to gather in Foley Square across the street from Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in Manhattan was being circulated on social media among New York groups. Former US Senator in New York and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also shared the details of the Foley Square protest on Twitter.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll published Tuesday found that a majority of Americans support the Supreme Court upholding Roe v. Wade. The poll, conducted last week, found 54% of Americans support upholding Roe, while 28% support overturning it. The poll found 18% had no opinion.
About 49% of the nation said that abortion should be “legal and accessible” in USA TODAY/Ipsos poll published this month. Only about a third of Republicans felt that way, compared with 73% of Democrats.
The Roe decision in 1973 found that laws criminalizing abortions violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey reaffirmed the rights upheld in the Roe ruling and changed the standards for laws around abortion.
Abortion-rights and anti-abortion protesters gather at Supreme Court
In Washington, Jen Miller, 37, stood in silence giving the nation’s highest court the middle finger. “It just makes me feel better,” she said.
Calling the leaked Supreme Court document a “bad opinion,” Miller said she hopes the news encourages Democrats to fight back — first by “bombing” the filibuster and passing a law to protect abortion. “I want the Democrats to do their damn job,” Miller added.
Small, one of the George Washington students, said she felt it was important for people to protest in their home states, too. Hearns said her motivation for her is to raise awareness that stripping the federal abortion protection could strip others of their rights as well.
“It’s just really scary to me that (anti-abortion activists) don’t understand that taking away abortion takes away so many rights and so many things from women and other people who have uteruses,” Hearns said.
Anti-abortion activists clustered outside the court chanting and holding multi-colored posters, but by 11 am, many had departed as the crowd of abortion-rights demonstrators swelled.
“Abortion is oppression,” Maggie Donica, 21, said into a megaphone. Though she described herself as anti-abortion, Donica said her primary reason for protesting is to return the right to decide on abortion to states.
“(Overturning Roe) is a statement of neutrality and it gives the states back the right to make their decisions,” she said.
Kristin Monahan, 30, who describes herself as a feminist, leftist, atheist and an anti-abortion activist, said she viewed abortion as a form of violence.
“I already feel like it makes more sense for people who support pro-peace values — anti-war, vegan, anti-death penalty — it makes more sense for people like that to be against abortion,” she said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism