Protests against the Roe v. Wade start in Supreme Court, across America: live updates


WASHINGTON — A sea of ​​protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court on Friday, one of many rallies planned across the country after a historic High Court ruling ended the constitutional right to abortion.

An emotional crowd of hundreds held signs and chanted “My body, my choice” on the steps of the Supreme Court as they grappled with the news that the landmark Roe v. Wade had been canceled after five decades.

Elsewhere, abortion rights advocates in cities including Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and New York have planned protests for Friday night. Demonstrations were also planned in Florida, Missouri, Georgia and Texas.

Outside the Supreme Court, Serena Steiner — a 35-year-old legal assistant from Alexandria, Va. — had tears in her eyes as she explained how the ruling would affect her sisters and others across the country. Steiner texted her sisters after the decision was announced, she said, encouraging them to get IUDs fitted and saying “RIP Roe v. Wade.”

“I don’t want them to be forced to have kids they don’t want to have,” she said.

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Steiner said she “benefited from access to abortion as a teenager” and wants abortion-related health care to be available to everyone who needs it. Still, she wasn’t surprised by the decision, she said.

Robin Sabbath, 59, of Detroit Michigan, was at his hotel in Washington, DC when the decision was announced. Sabbath said she was no longer in her “childbearing years”, but came to the protest because “the government should not have the right to tell me what to do about my reproductive health”.

“It’s my body, my choice. Period,” said Sabbath, who works at a nonprofit library. “…We should all be able to make the choices that are best for us and for our families.”

Jenny LaJeunnese was in town visiting from Atlanta and had no plans to go to the Supreme Court. Then she saw the decision.

“Maybe we shouldn’t have taken (abortion) for granted,” she told the court. The 44-year-old librarian felt protected by the landmark that has ruled her entire life and protesting in court helped her ‘not feel tiny, insignificant or helpless’.

Abortion rights protesters and anti-abortion protesters, separated by a police cordon, demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists also rallied in Washington. Some fought with protesters outside the courthouse, although the protest remained peaceful. Several people were seen being escorted away by police as shouting broke out between the groups.

President Joe Biden, while acknowledging that the decision puts women across the country at risk, asked those who gather to protest to remain peaceful.

“I call on everyone, no matter how much they care about this decision, to keep all protests peaceful,” he said. “Violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speeches. We must oppose violence in all its forms, whatever your justification.”

In anticipation of staging protests, US Capitol Police said they are mobilizing additional officers and resources while working with other law enforcement.

A key bridge connecting Maryland to DC has been closed for hours after a person climbed one of the arches of the Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge. Images taken by local news channels showed the person, wearing a red T-shirt, sitting at the top of the bridge.

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Protests begin in Florida, Kentucky and beyond

Cheyenne Cheile, co-founder of the Florida-based Women’s Advocacy Movement of Pinellas, helped lead a protest in St. Petersburg, Florida on Friday afternoon shortly after the Roe v. Wade.

Cheile told USA TODAY that she expects at least 1,000 people to show up at the Bans From Our Bodies rally.

“We think politicians and judges have nothing to do with our decisions about what we do with our bodies, and right here in Florida our elected officials have already attacked our right to make decisions,” Cheile said.

In April, Florida Governor DeSantis signed into law 15 week abortion ban which shortened the window for legally terminating a pregnancy by two months.

In Jacksonville, Florida, members of the Planned Parenthood PAC stood in front of City Hall, holding hands. Some were stoic while others had tears in their eyes.

“Today I woke up holding my breath, grabbed my phone and started compulsively refreshing my Twitter feed,” said Abbey Vickery, a local reproductive rights activist. “When I saw the news, I sat in all the emotions I already knew were coming. The same ones that are so familiar to all of us – hurt, scared, furious.”

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Baileigh Johnson, an activist who said she had an abortion aged 29, wore a shirt that read “KEEP ABORTIONS SAFE”. She said abortions need to be “normalized”.

She added, “Abortions save lives – it saved mine too.”

At the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s only full-time abortion clinic, a few protesters gathered outside the downtown facility Friday morning.

Joseph Spurgeon, pastor of a church in Jeffersonville, Indiana, said they came to celebrate “the grace of God,” adding that he would continue to lead his congregation in pushing to ban not only drugs that could terminating pregnancies, but contraceptives like Plan B.

Contributors: Kenneth Tran and Katherine Swartz, USA TODAY; Lucas Aulbach, (Louisville) Courier Journal; Emily Bloch, Florida Times-Union

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Abortion rights protests begin in the United States after the overturning of Roe v. wade