Thousands Of Abortion Rights Protesters Descend On SCOTUS


Huge groups of protesters turned out in Washington, D.C., and around the U.S. this week after the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, meaning the federally recognized right to an abortion was essentially abolished.

The court’s decision stood to significantly impact the health of millions of child-bearing and potentially child-bearing people across the country, since now, state officials will be free to handle allowing or restricting access to abortion however they see fit, and the process of imposing harsh, new restrictions is already starting. POLITICO explains that most states “with so-called trigger laws require the attorney general, governor or legislature to certify that the court’s opinion does, indeed, overturn Roe, include a delay of up to 30 days before they take effect, or both.” “Trigger” laws were passed to automatically impose broad bans on abortion, with rare exceptions, in the event Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Protests against the court’s decision began Friday and continued Saturday. “By 10 a.m. Saturday, a few hundred people had gathered outside the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill,” The Washington Post reported this weekend. The preceding day, thousands of demonstrators in favor of abortion rights ended up in the street of the nation’s capital, so similarly large crowds could be expected to emerge as Saturday continued. At one point on Saturday, a man on a bike disrupted the crowd; he played religious music and carried a sign that read “JESUS SAVES.” Later on, 11-year-old Penelope Hall spoke via megaphone to fellow demonstrators: “The decision they made doesn’t affect them… But it affects me and my friends and my family.” Nathan Hall, the girl’s father, said among “her first dream jobs was to be on the Supreme Court to protect women’s rights.”

On Friday, a protest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in favor of abortion rights became a scene of violence when a man driving a Ford pick-up truck ran into a group that participated in the demonstration. The man drove over one of the victims’ ankles, and that woman was subsequently hospitalized. The incident took place as people participating in the protest were simply crossing the street, and the driver behind the wheel ran a red light and went around several cars in front of him before ramming into the group of protesters. One woman in the crowd, Alexis Russell, told HuffPost she reached in the open window on the truck’s driver’s side and tried to steer the vehicle away from people. According to Lyz Lenz, a journalist who was on the scene, police “did identify and interview the man driving the truck,” but — at least initially — there was no arrest. “The driver was screaming and a woman was in the car with him begging him to stop,” according to Lenz’s details.

Assessments of where precisely abortion is now allowed and where it’s not vary, and it could take some time for exact outlines of the new map of abortion availability in the U.S. to become clear. Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and South Dakota all now ban abortions with rare exceptions, such as to save the life of a pregnant person. On Friday, POLITICO identified abortion as “soon to be illegal” in Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, and abortion rights remained in limbo elsewhere, imperiling millions more. (UPDATE: The “soon” part of that was set to quickly change: very soon after the Supreme Court’s ruling emerged, Missouri officials took the moves required to ban abortions, with extremely limited exceptions, in the state.)

Meanwhile, there have also been pro-abortion rights protests in California, Illinois, New York, and elsewhere. Check out footage of Saturday protests for abortion rights outside the U.S. Supreme Court below:

Featured image: Fibonacci Blue/Wikimedia Commons, under a Creative Commons license