Abortion-rights supporters rallied across the United States on Saturday for a second day of protests against the Supreme Court’s decision to smash what many thought was a given.
By revoking its emblematic judgment “Roe v. Wade”, which since 1973 guaranteed the right of American women to have an abortion, the high court left the States the choice of whether or not to ban abortions in a deeply divided country.
Thousands of people gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday, surrounded by barriers and placed under police protection.
“What happened yesterday is indescribable and disgusting,” exclaimed Mia Stagner, a 19-year-old political science student. “No woman should be forced to become a mother.” Around her, defenders of the right to abortion chanted “separation of Church and State”, or even “my body, my choice”.
But if the decision horrified progressive activists, it delighted those who, especially on the religious right, had been fighting for its cancellation for decades. A few dozen anti-abortion people also came to court on Saturday. “I believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life,” Savannah Craven, an anti-abortion activist with Live Action Group, told AFP. “Life begins in the womb, life begins at conception”.
Several hundred abortion rights activists also gathered in Los Angeles and protests were planned in other cities, notably in the states which took advantage of the Court’s judgment to immediately ban abortions on their ground.
While clinics in Missouri, South Dakota or Georgia closed their doors one after the other, Democratic states, such as California or New York, have pledged to defend access to abortions on their soil.
“A Scary Moment”
President Joe Biden said Saturday before flying to Europe to know “how painful and devastating this decision is for many Americans”. On Friday, he called on Americans to defend the right to abortion during the midterm elections in November.
Defenders of the right to abortion also fear that the Supreme Court, with a clear conservative majority, will reverse other rights such as marriage for all or contraception. “They went after women. They’re going to go after the LGBT community and contraception,” Caroline Keller, a protester she met outside the Supreme Court, told AFP. This prospect “worries us” and “we are going to have nightmarish situations”, recognized the spokesperson for the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, on board Air Force One. “It’s a scary moment.”
On Friday, two demonstrations were marked by violence. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a van drove into a group of protesters, injuring a woman in the foot, according to local media. And in Arizona, police admitted to using tear gas to disperse protesters who “repeatedly banged on the windows of the State Senate”. In Los Angeles, a demonstration was dispersed in a muscular way by police officers equipped with truncheons.
Poor and minorities penalized
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research center that campaigns for access to contraception and abortion in the world, half of the States should ban abortions in the more or less short term. Within hours on Friday, at least eight states immediately made all abortions illegal. Seven others have planned to do the same in the coming weeks, but in fact, clinics there have already stopped performing abortions, as in Texas, the largest American state, where women wishing to have an abortion will now have to have abortions. hundreds of miles to get to the nearest clinic in New Mexico.
In one part of the country, women wishing to have an abortion will be forced to continue their pregnancy, to manage clandestinely, in particular by obtaining abortion pills on the internet, or to travel to other states where abortions will remain legal. Anticipating an influx, these states, most often Democrats, took measures to facilitate access to abortion on their soil and the clinics began to shift their resources in personnel and equipment.
But traveling is expensive and the Supreme Court’s decision will further penalize poor women or women raising children alone, who are over-represented in black and Hispanic minorities, stress the defenders of the right to abortion. Abortion rights organization Parenthood planned said in a statement to AFP on Saturday that it had seen the number of donations it normally receives in a day increase by 40. “C It’s just the beginning and we won’t give up,” said Kelley Robinson, vice-president of the association.
Supporters of the right to abortion mobilized in the United States on Saturday for a second day of demonstrations against the decision of the Supreme Court to pulverize what many thought was a given. By revoking its emblematic judgment “Roe v. Wade” , which since 1973 guaranteed the right of American women to have an abortion, the high court leaves the choice to the States to prohibit or…