Thousands of women with slogans like “My body, my choice, my right” rallied in Washington on Saturday, beginning a day of nationwide protests aimed at countering a conservative campaign to restrict access to abortion.
The perennial battle over the procedure has intensified in the US as Texas adopted a law on September 1 that banned nearly all abortions, sparking a fierce backlash in the courts and Congress, but so far few public demonstrations. with.
Two days before the US Supreme Court, which will make a final decision on the contentious issue, due to reparations, nearly 200 organizations have called on abortion rights defenders to make their voices heard from coast to coast.
The major event was in the nation’s capital, Washington, where crowds of all ages – mostly women but also men – rallied under sunny skies in a square near the White House, many with the words “my body banned”. Wearing a purple mask. “
Demonstrators danced to pop music from loudspeakers as activists addressed the crowd in recorded interviews broadcast on the big screen, and slogans such as “Abortion is health care” or “Abortion to the Texas Taliban” were on signs or on protesters’ bodies. were fired.
A handful of counter protesters raised slogans of “abortion is murder”, but there was no violence.
The crowd was later to march towards the Supreme Court, which recognized women’s right to abortion in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision nearly 50 years earlier.
The court, now lined with conservative justices by former President Donald Trump, is set to go in the opposite direction.
“Women are human, we are perfect humans, and we need to be treated like perfect humans,” said Laura Bushwitz, a 66-year-old retired teacher from Florida, wearing a dress emblazoned with portraits of female activists and politicians, such as Michelle Obama. .
“We should be able to make our own choices on what we want to do with our bodies. Period,” she said. “Listen, Scottus?” She asked, citing the US Supreme Court.
The court has already refused to block the Texas law and has agreed to review a restrictive Mississippi law that could provide an opportunity to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade precedent, which sought the legal right to abortion. Guarantees until the embryo is viable outside the womb. .
Rallies were planned in at least two conservative state capitals, Austin and Jackson, as well as in more than 600 cities in all 50 states. According to organisers, around 1.25 million people are expected across the United States.
“Together, we are joining hands to advocate for a country where abortion is not just legal – it is accessible, affordable and defamatory,” organizers of the Rally for Abortion Justice said in a statement.
The group called on Congress to ensure abortion rights in federal law, to protect them from any possible reversal by the Supreme Court.
A bill to that effect was adopted a week ago in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats but has no chance of passing the Senate where Republicans have enough votes to block it.
In 2017, the first “Women’s March” was held a day after Trump’s inauguration, rallying millions of opponents of the Republican billionaire who had been accused of sexism.
Since then, due to internal divisions over allegations of anti-Semitism leveled against one of the organisers, other demonstrations have failed to turn out in such large numbers.
But that page seems to have been turned.
Saturday’s participants are a broad coalition of small feminist groups, community and local organizations as well as the family planning giant, Planned Parenthood.
“We are once again taking to the streets for the first time in the (Joe) Biden era,” the statement read. “Because change in the Oval Office hasn’t stopped the political, perverse and patriarchal desire to regulate our bodies. If anything, it has intensified.”
That growth has been fueled by Trump’s appointment of three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, prompting local conservative elected officials across the country to launch an anti-abortion campaign.
So far this year, 19 states have adopted 63 laws restricting access to abortion.
If the High Court reverses Roe v. Wade, every state would be free to ban or allow abortion.
This would mean that 36 million women in 26 states — nearly half of American women of reproductive age — would lose their legal right to abortion, according to a Planned Parenthood report released Friday.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)