Thousands of abortion rights protesters gather in DC to protest draft decision on Roe

Thousands of abortion rights protesters gathered on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday as national tensions remain high over the leaked Supreme Court majority opinion draft that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

The leaked opinion has mobilized abortion rights activists over the past week, with protesters gathering at the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices to protest the draft decision of the High Courts last week. Protesters gathered in several cities across the US on Saturday to rally for abortion.

“The day we warned about has arrived,” Rachel Carmona, Women’s March executive director and one of the organizers of Saturday’s event, told the crowd gathered in the Mall. “Roe and Casey’s end is in sight and we won’t be going back.”

“It’s no exaggeration to say this is the worst-case scenario coming to life,” she said. “There will be deadly consequences for women. But it’s also no exaggeration to say that women will fight back like we’ve always done and meet this moment.”

Ms. Carmona called on the crowd to be “ungovernable until this government starts working for us”, calling the Supreme Court “illegitimate”.

Flooding signposted protesters lined the hill below the Washington Monument in front of a large podium before marching all over the Mall on Constitution Ave to the Supreme Court.

“It means we’re the majority,” Abby Ellicott, a psychologist in his 60s from the greater Washington area, said of the turnout, which organizers say would be 17,000.

“It says people want abortion to be safe and legal,” she said. “They don’t want it to be illegal or difficult or impossible to access. That’s what this means.”

She said the opinion leak has started a “very important” conversation in the US

“I think the conversation showed how outraged people are about what’s in the letter and what the Supreme Court plans to do,” she said. “So I think it’s been a positive conversation. I just hope it has the impact it should have.”

Justin Vogelhut, 41, carried a sign that read “Mandatory pregnancy is abuse” and said he was angry at the Supreme Court decision.

“This is a very personal matter,” he said of abortion. “This is an individual’s decision with their doctor. The government decides on this and makes a law where it has no place in making a decision.”

One of the speakers for the march was Rep. Barbara Lee, California Republican, who recanted her teenage abortion experience.

“I know firsthand how access to legal abortion is being denied,” she said. “When I was a teenager, I had an abortion. I was so scared. I didn’t know what to expect, except that this decision could put my life in danger. So I’m here to tell you. I have experienced the fear, stigma and despair of being denied the care you need.”

“We are here today to tell these radical extremists that if you criminalize people for having an abortion, if you make abortion illegal, if you deprive us of the right to make our personal decisions about our bodies, we will get you to the polls in November shall see. ‘ said Mrs. Lee.

A small crowd of counter-protesters formed in front of a sign that read “The Whole World is Watching You Guys Screaming for Infant Blood” near where the crowd had gathered.

Jonathan Darnel, 40, and one of the counter-protesters said he was there to “counter the lies being preached” from the podium.

“We know there’s a lot of pro-abortion rhetoric that a lot of abortion advocates don’t actually deal with,” he said. “They just suck in the topics of conversation and they spit them out. And I think we can counter a lot of that pretty effectively.”

mr. Darnel said he did not represent any particular group, but said he was urging Christians to take to the streets more and preach the message of pro-life” via his website

After several speakers addressed the crowd, the protesters gathered on Constitution Ave for the march to the Supreme Court.

Spectators lined the street as the crowd, which stretched for blocks, passed by.

A brother and his sister, both university students from the region who wished to remain anonymous, watched the crowd go by as they split their differences over abortion.

The brother, who opposed abortion, said that while some protesters had positive messages, he disagreed with some of the signs displayed.

“I saw a sign that said GOP judges were like the Taliban, which is kind of outrageous,” he said. “A terrorist organization that slaughters women compared to judges interpreting the Constitution. I think that’s also part of the vibe here that blends in with some people on the other side, you see they’re emotionally driven. They forget that the court interprets the Constitution.”

The sister, who supports abortion, interrupted to say that it is not possible to separate emotions from the subject.

“I think there are signs and there are arguments that are a little too extreme and marginal, but it’s a woman’s right to choose whether or not as a family,” she said. “It’s a woman’s right to choose whether she even wants to have intercourse, you know, and she shouldn’t feel unsafe.”

But while the two disagreed on the topic of abortion, both said they feared the US would become too polarized.

“The people who organized this were able to mobilize a lot of people by calling on their base,” says the sister. “But they didn’t appeal to the other side and that’s why I think this move is a bit too radical. It just repels people on the other side. You won’t see a Republican here except my brother.’

The protesters loudly chanted “Abortion is healthcare!” and “Keep your theology off my biology!” as they made their way down Constitution Ave.

Once outside the Supreme Court, the crowd continued to sing and wave plates before thinning and paying out without incident.

Saturday’s event followed protests all week outside the homes of the conservative Supreme Court judge, who was condemned by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress for crossing the line.

“I find it objectionable. Stay away from the homes and families of elected officials and members of the court,” Richard J. Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN on Tuesday.

Kentucky Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell called the protests “an attempt to replace the rule of law with the rule of the mobs.”

“Trying to scare federal judges into ruling a certain way goes way beyond the bounds of First Amendment speech or protest,” he said.

Other lawmakers have backed the protesters.

“If the protests are peaceful, yes,” Senate Majority Leader New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday. “My house – there are protests outside my house three, four times a week. The American way of protesting peacefully is okay.”

The leaked Supreme Court decision also sparked an attempt by Senate Democrats to pass legislation that would codify the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Republicans opposed the measure, known as the Women’s Health Protection Act, arguing that the bill would go far beyond codifying Roe v. Wade by removing virtually all restrictions on abortion enacted by states.

sen. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III joined Republicans in opposing the measure, calling it “an extension” of abortion.

The senate voted 49-51 on a procedural vote on the measure, comfortably meeting the required 60 votes.

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