Activists in dozens of cities across the country, with billboards proclaiming “Abortion is Health Care” and chanting counter-attacks, marched to mark the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling overturned by the Supreme Court. On Sunday, they rallied to support abortion rights. Eliminate the constitutional right to abortion.
Expected to draw thousands from Honolulu to Hartford, the event forms the latest in the Women’s March, a series of protests that began in 2017 following the election of President Donald J. Trump. . They closely followed the March for Life, an annual anti-abortion demonstration held in Washington.
In Texas, which had a strict abortion ban even before Law’s downfall, marchers gathered at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in downtown Dallas. In Boston, people gathered for abortion rights at Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park. More than a dozen events were scheduled in Florida, which bans abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at an event organized by Parenthood in Tallahassee, Florida. In her speech, Ms. Harris accused Florida’s “extremist” Republicans and “so-called leaders” of abortion restrictions and rules that force health care providers. “Risk going to jail just for doing your job.”
She said President Biden signed a memorandum of understanding directing agencies across the government to assess how the federal government can remove legal barriers to providers who prescribe abortion drugs. .
“Don’t get tired or discouraged,” said Harris. “Because we are on the right side of history.”
Seen as a way to engage new activists and revitalize allies for the long battle ahead, the march also attracted veterans like 82-year-old Diana Wiener. Year. The sign reads “Never again”.
Wiener said she had an illegal abortion in the Bronx in 1959, more than a decade before Roe v. Wade. This her experience sparked her anger at overturning the Supreme Court ruling and her concern that there are too few young women. In the fight for women’s rights.
“They don’t know what happened before. We weren’t really on birth control,” she said. The court’s ruling “doesn’t stop abortion, it just kills women,” she added.
Learn more about the abortion problem in America
At the day’s marquee event, Madison, Wisconsin, thousands of women in heavy coats and pink hats marched down State Street as crowds quickly doubled to 26 degrees. tripled regardless. Among the protesters was her 63-year-old Kim Schultz, who was joining a women’s march for the first time.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “Too far to retreat. I was stunned and furious that I could go back to the past like this.”
National organizers of the Women’s March underscored nearly 200 local actions scheduled in 46 states, reflecting the recent loss of federal protection and the paramount importance of current state politics. said it does.
“The fight at the federal level has nowhere to go,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of Women’s March, an advocacy group that grew from the first march. “The battlefield has shifted away from watered-down national protection. All the fighting for the next few years will be at the state level.”
Anti-abortion activists participated in multiple events. In Dallas, a middle-aged man in white with red splatters, believed to resemble blood, blasted gospel music from his microphone. I had a sign with an image of the thing on it. The marchers hurriedly covered his billboard with Black Lives Matter flags.
Michelle Anderson, 52, who participated in the Dallas March, said even before the law was overturned, black women had always had to fight hard for their right to control their bodies. We are too afraid to vote against our privilege, so until we do, we will live with this situation,” she said.
Tamika Middleton, managing director of the Women’s March, said many of the local events were led by fledgling activists with little or no experience, and that “they were more involved in the movement and their relationship with politics.” “We want the barriers to activism to be so low that they can cross over.”
The organization plans to build on its beginnings as well as after past actions, she said.
“Building infrastructure in the state for the election in two years is very important,” Middleton said.
The first women’s march, held the day after Mr. Trump took office on January 21, 2017, drew millions to the streets of Washington to confront misogyny in other cities across the country and around the world. Protested and opposed sexual and reproductive issues. and civil rights. The global event again saw large-scale participation in January 2018, but in 2019, due to anti-Semitic allegations among some of its leaders, attendees Decreased.
The coronavirus pandemic has further limited the Women’s March’s ability to host events and draw crowds. After the court’s ruling was leaked and made public, strong demonstrations took place at events in May and again in October, gathering support. for the midterm elections.
Organizers narrowed the focus of Sunday’s march from feminist causes to access to abortion. In anticipation of April’s special election in one state, we drew special attention to events in Madison.
Ms. Middleton, managing director of the Women’s March, opened her speech in Madison to dispel the notion that activists were grieving.
“The other side thinks we should mourn today,” said Middleton, drawing boos from the crowd. “They don’t know about us. Today we remind them that our fight wasn’t just about Roe. Our fight is for complete reproductive freedom.”
Not all women’s rights groups plan to march. In Los Angeles, Emiliana Guerreka, founder of the independent nonprofit Women’s Her March Foundation, said she was instead hosting a screening of the documentary film “The Janes,” followed by a panel discussion of her.
The HBO documentary spotlights female activists who banded together to form Jane, the secret group that provided safe abortions years before Roe v. Wade.
“We need to march to the state legislator’s office, not over the weekend,” Guerreka said.
In downtown Atlanta, at an event hosted by the NAACP and other groups to commemorate Roe Day but not related to the women’s march, a crowd of dozens read “Control Guns, Not Women” signs. He put up a poster with the slogan he had written. “Repeal Georgia’s abortion ban.” The state bans abortion after six weeks, before most women realize they are pregnant. Sunday’s attendance, when thousands marched through the city, was markedly lower than the march held in the summer immediately following Law’s reversal.
Peyton Hayes, the organizer of the Socialist Liberation Party, said no one gave up because of low attendance. Looking ahead, she said, activists need to pressure Republican-controlled state legislatures to end abortion bans.
In New York City, as protesters meander down Broadway and dodge pedestrians, Bruna Monia, 35, remembered crying when she first heard Law had flipped. Monia welcomed her first child, Alice, 18 months before her, and she said she is fighting for her daughter’s rights and her own rights.
“She should have the right to choose what to do with her body,” she said.
Thea Kvetenadze, Sean KeenanDia Berry Mitchell, Vic Jolie contributed to the report.