Thousands march in pro-choice rally in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Thousands of people marched and gathered in San Francisco in support of reproductive rights and a San Mateo County supervisor issued a statement Saturday in favor of pro-choice sanctuaries.

The actions came in response to the leak earlier this month of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 abortion ruling Roe v. Wade.

Since the leak, activists in the Bay Area have responded with various actions on both sides of the issue.

There have been marches on abortion before — both for and against — but Saturday was bigger than most as abortion rights advocates in the Bay Area joined a nationwide protest.

“It’s huge and we’re very happy,” said Ruth Robertson of the Raging Grannies Action League. “And it’s not just the East Coast, it’s Chicago, it’s Texas, and it’s in small towns and big cities and San Francisco had to be a part of this. There’s no way San Francisco wouldn’t be a big part of it and we are a big part of it.”

“Enough is enough! We’ve gotten comfortable,” Tyleigha Hagood told the crowd gathered in the Civic Center’s main library. The National Reproductive Justice organizer said everyone should be realistic about the direction the Court is heading.

“I think people have to accept the hard truth that they realize that this leak is the decision of the Supreme Court justices,” she said. “We can still fight, we can still perform, we can still make a riot in the streets, but doing so with the realization that they’ve made their decision — that this is where they stand — will give much more power.”

With it, thousands marched from Civic Center to Market Street, heading for the waterfront. Among them was Janice Campbell of Oakland, who said that while the abortion discussion isn’t over, she believed it was a legal decision.

“I was in law school when it was arranged,” she said, “and we all assumed it would last forever, but we didn’t think religious fanatics would take over the court and destroy our way of life. “

Those old enough to remember when Roe v. Wade was founded in 1973 understand how contentious the issue was and has been ever since.

“I feel like we’ve been fighting for the past 50 years to keep it,” said Palo Alto’s Katherine Wilson. “I feel like it’s been threatened for a long time.”

Younger women, like SF resident Kaci Barry, grew up with the idea of ​​abortion as a constitutional right and now face the prospect that that may no longer be true.

“I can’t believe we’re marching for abortion rights in 2022,” Barry said. “Growing up, that was something that was protected and something that I knew I had access to and to know it’s now threatened for me and our children and our granddaughters is horrifying.”

Some are calling for a federal law that would legalize abortion nationally. A recent CBS poll found that 58 percent of Americans are in favor of that idea, while 42 percent are against it.

By design, the Supreme Court is the only branch of government that is not supposed to be influenced by public opinion. So how much impact can mass protest marches have?

San Francisco resident Angela A. doesn’t think it will change the justice system, but she believes that if people become more politically active, they could influence future court appointments, even if the process is excruciatingly slow for some. seems.

“They’re getting their way. Republicans have been planning this for decades,” she said. “They are winning now, but that doesn’t mean it has to be forever. They can win this battle. In the end we can go back to what it should be and we could win the war.”

Also on Saturday, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa released a statement following the Redwood City Council’s request for the county to create a buffer zone at the Planned Parenthood clinic in unincorporated Redwood City. The clinic is under the jurisdiction of San Mateo County.

“With an ongoing assault on women’s reproductive rights, we must create ‘Pro Choice Sanctuaries’ and ‘Buffer Zones’ in abortion clinics to protect the privacy and rights of the women seeking reproductive patient care, even if they come from outside the home. the state,” Canepa said.

Canepa said he felt the county should work with cities to create buffer zones at every health clinic in the county that provides reproductive health care.

“We have seen an increase in protests at clinics such as Planned Parenthood at 2907 El Camino Real on the outskirts of Redwood City, which is why I agree with the Redwood City Council that the county should create a buffer zone,” the supervisor said.

“No woman should be afraid to take care of her own body by seeking health care in these clinics,” Canepa said.

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