Abortion rights protesters rally across the United States in hundreds of ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ marches

Abortion-rights supporters began gathering for protests across the United States on Saturday, beginning what organizers said would be “a summer of rage” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the case Roe versus Wade who legalized abortion nationwide.

Planned Parenthood, Women’s March and other abortion rights groups held more than 400 “Bans Off Our Bodies” marches on Saturday, with the biggest turnouts expected in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The protests are in response to the May 2 leak of a draft opinion showing the court’s conservative majority prepared to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling that established a federal constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

The court’s final ruling, which could give states the power to ban abortion, is expected in June. About half of U.S. states could ban or severely restrict abortion soon after a ruling overturns Roe.

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

“For the women of this country, it will be a summer of rage,” said Rachel Carmona, president of the Women’s March. “We will be ungovernable until this government starts working for us, until the attacks on our bodies stop, until the right to abortion is codified in law.”

Gatherings before the legislative elections

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

Casten, whose district includes the western suburbs of Chicago, told Reuters it was “awful” that the conservative Supreme Court was considering removing abortion rights and “condemning women to this lower status”.

WATCH | The potential overthrow of Roe v. Wade emboldens Canadian anti-abortion activists:

The potential reversal of Roe v. Wade emboldens Canadian anti-abortion activists

As the federal government moves to ensure abortion access in Canada, anti-abortion activists have been emboldened by the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down abortion access.

Democrats, who currently hold the White House and both houses of the US Congress, hope the backlash from the Supreme Court’s decision will lead their party’s candidates to victory in congressional elections in November.

But voters will weigh abortion rights against other issues like soaring food and gas prices, and they might be skeptical about Democrats’ ability to protect access to abortion after the failure of efforts to pass legislation that would enshrine the right to abortion in federal law.

On Saturday, protesters in New York plan to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, while protesters in Washington will gather at the Washington Monument and then head to the Supreme Court. Los Angeles protesters planned to meet at City Hall and a group from Austin was scheduled to meet 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 Roe v. Wade, according to the leaked opinion.

Judge Clarence Thomas said at a conference in Dallas on Friday that trust in the court was “gone forever” as a result of the leak.

“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution I’m in, it fundamentally changes the institution,” the conservative judge said.

Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion advocacy group with chapters on campuses across the country, said it was holding counter-protests Saturday in nine cities, including Washington.