Thousands of activists were gearing up to take to US streets yesterday in a national day of action calling for safe and legal access to abortion.
The planned nationwide demonstrations are a response to leaked draft opinion showing the US Supreme Court’s conservative majority is considering overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion access nationwide.
“Our bodies are our own — if they are not, we cannot be truly free or equal,” says a petition from Bans Off Our Bodies, which was organized by groups including Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March.
“Across the country, some politicians are trying to make decisions about our bodies for us,” it says. “We won’t let the abortion bans sweeping the country put our lives and futures at risk, and we won’t be silenced while our fundamental right to control our bodies is taken away.”
Protesters were expected in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, as well as at hundreds of smaller events across the country.
The leak of the draft opinion has ignited fury over the potential rollback of abortion rights ahead of November’s key midterm elections, when control of both congressional chambers are at stake.
Democrats have pushed to codify abortion rights into federal law, a bid to pin down Republicans on the deeply divisive issue ahead of the crucial polls.
The Women’s Health Protection Act passed by the US House of Representatives would assure healthcare providers have the right to provide abortions and that patients have the right to receive them, but Republicans in the US Senate refused to allow a vote on the measure earlier this week.
The legislative result does not square with US opinion at large: a new Politico/Morning Consult poll has 53 percent of voters saying that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, up 3 percentage points since last week, while 58 percent said it was important to vote for a candidate who supports abortion access.
“We ALL lose if Roe is overturned,” Women’s March executive director Rachel O’Leary Carmona wrote on Twitter. “Even those in small conservative towns like mine in Texas who are grateful for the abortion their wife had during a pregnancy that put her health at risk, or afraid of the one their granddaughter may be unable to access if she were raped,” she wrote.
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