Large protests break out across the country after Supreme Court leak
Large protests have broken out across the country in recent days after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court showed that the bench is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, invigorating individuals on both sides of the abortion debate.
Politico on Monday night published a draft majority ruling, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that says the decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey “must be overruled.” The opinion said “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” and asserted that “a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history.”
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the draft ruling was “authentic,” but emphasized that it does not reflect the final decision from the bench.
Nonetheless, individuals across the country have exercised their First Amendment rights in the wake of the draft opinion. Both abortion rights and anti-abortion protesters have participated in demonstrations.
More than 1,000 abortion rights protesters flocked to the street outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post, calling on the Biden administration and other Democrats to safeguard access to the medical procedure.
“Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate,” protesters chanted in Washington, according to a video posted to Twitter.
Anti-abortion protesters were also demonstrating at the court on Tuesday, according to the Post, though their group was smaller than the abortion rights supporters. U.S. Capitol Police separated the two groups with police barricades, the newspaper noted.
“Hell no we don’t need Roe,” anti-abortion protesters chanted outside the court earlier on Tuesday, according to another video posted on Twitter.
Upwards of 1,000 protesters also took to the streets in New York City on Tuesday, congregating at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to protest the draft opinion overturning the nearly 50-year precedent.
Protesters held up cardboard signs that read “Abortion on demand & without apology” and “My body, my choice,” among other slogans and rallying cries, as illustrated in a video posted to Twitter.
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) spoke at the demonstration, telling the crowd that she had an abortion when she was just beginning on the City Council, according to The New York Times.
One protester, Derek Holmes, 26, told the Times that he was taking part in the protest because he was “in a situation where having an abortion saved me from becoming an ill-equipped father.”
“I don’t think many men see the importance of having this right and it’s more than just economics,” he told the newspaper. “I could never understand what it must be like to have an unwanted child.”
Protesters also took to the streets in Los Angeles on Tuesday, where some demonstrations turned acrimonious. Protesters and the police got into a brief skirmish outside the federal courthouse, The Los Angeles Times reported.
About 400 people were present at the demonstration, which featured speakers ranging from 17 to 60 years old, the Times reported. At around 8:15 p.m. local time, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore tweeted that authorities were bringing a group of 250 individuals from the federal building to Pershing Square. He warned that traffic delays should be expected.
In a separate tweet posted just after 9 p.m., Moore said part of the group being moved to Pershing Square “began to take the intersection.” The chief said authorities “attempted to communicate, clear and provide dispersal order to the group,” but the protesters started throwing rocks and bottles at officers.
One officer was injured in the clash, according to Moore.
In San Francisco, protesters demonstrated in the wake of the leak. Hundreds of individuals congregated before the Phillip Burton Federal Building in the city to advocate for abortion rights, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Protesters carried signs reading “We won’t go back,” “You can only ban safe abortions” and “My body, my choice,” the Chronicle reported.
Attorney General Rob Bonta and Planned Parenthood California CEO Gilda Gonzales spoke at the demonstration, according to KRON 4.
In Denver, NPR captured photos from an abortion rights rally at the state Capitol, one of which featured a demonstrator carrying signs that read “Bodily autonomy is a human right!.”
In Boston, protesters at the Massachusetts State House hoisted signs that said “Keep abortion legal” and “Uphold Roe v. Wade,” according to NPR.
Demonstrations also broke out in Houston, St. Louis and Hartford, Conn., according to the media outlet.
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