Abortion rights activists in the US kicked off a ‘summer of rage’ with protests on Saturday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of abortion rights supporters gathered for protests across the United States on Saturday, the start of what organizers said would be a “summer of rage” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade’s case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Planned Parenthood, Women’s March and other abortion rights groups organized more than 400 “Ban Out Of Our Bodies” rallies Saturday, with the largest turnouts expected in New York City, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The demonstrations came in response to a leaked May 2 draft opinion showing that the court’s conservative majority was willing to overturn the landmark 1973 decision that established a federal constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

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The court’s final ruling, which could give states the power to ban abortion, is expected in June. About half of US states can ban or severely restrict abortion soon after a ruling is issued to abolish Rowe. Read more

Organizers said they expected hundreds of thousands of people to take part in Saturday’s events, which they said would be the first of many coordinated protests around the Supreme Court’s decision.

“For the women of this country, this is going to be a summer full of rage,” said Rachel Carmona, president of the Women’s March. “We will not be governable until this government starts working with us, until the attacks on our bodies stop, until the right to abortion is codified into law.”

Several thousand abortion advocates began gathering in a Chicago park Saturday morning, including U.S. Representative Sean Kasten and his 15-year-old daughter Audrey.

Kasten, whose area includes the western suburbs of Chicago, told Reuters it was “appalling” that the conservative Supreme Court would consider revoking the right to abortion and “sentencing women to this lower status.”

Democrats, who currently chair the White House and both houses of Congress, hope the backlash for the Supreme Court’s ruling will propel their party’s candidates to victory in the November congressional elections. Read more

But voters will weigh abortion rights against other issues such as high food and gas prices, and may be skeptical about Democrats’ ability to protect abortion access after efforts to pass legislation that would enshrined abortion rights in federal law failed. Read more

In a protest against abortion rights in Atlanta, more than 400 people gathered in a small park in front of the state capitol building.

Elizabeth Murphy, 40, a sales representative from nearby Cobb County who is a lifelong Democrat, said she believes abortion-rights supporters will come out in the November midterm elections.

“I vote and this time I’m telling everyone I know to vote,” she said.

The mood was energized in downtown Brooklyn on Saturday as thousands of abortion rights advocates prepared to cross the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.

Elizabeth Holtzman, an 80-year-old marcher who represented New York in Congress from 1973-1981, said the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion “treats women as objects, as less than whole human beings.”

“I have been fighting for women’s rights for 50 years and I will not give up,” she said.

Abortion rights advocates in Washington met at the Washington Monument with plans to go to the Supreme Court. In Los Angeles, protesters planned to meet at City Hall, and a group was scheduled to meet in Austin at the Texas State Capitol.

Last week, protesters gathered outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, who voted to overturn the Roe v. Wade, according to the leaked opinion.

Judge Clarence Thomas said at a conference in Dallas on Friday that confidence within the court was “shattered forever” after the leak.

“When you lose that trust, especially in the organization I work for, it fundamentally changes the organization,” said Conservative Justice.

The anti-abortion group Students for Life America, which has branches across the country, said it is organizing counter-protests on Saturday in nine cities, including Washington.

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(Gabriella Porter Report) in Washington. Additional reporting by Eric Cox in Chicago, Maria Caspani in New York and Rich Mackay in Atlanta. Written by Ted Hesson. Editing by Colin Jenkins, Cynthia Osterman, Grant McCall and Mark Porter

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