“If they want a fight, they’ll get it! ”warned this week the director of the Women’s March, Rachel Carmona, recalls The Guardian. “From Pittsburgh to Pasadena, California, via Nashville, Tennessee, and Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands of people participated in the ‘Bans off our bodies’ parades. The largest protests, of the hundreds planned, were expected in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles” and the capital Washington, observes the British daily.
The Supreme Court of the United States, seized by the conservative State of Mississippi on the conditions of the right to abortion, must render its decision this summer. But a first version of the judgment leaked in early May on the site Politicoconfirming what many Americans feared: the Supreme Court, with a conservative majority, would be ready to repeal the judgment “Roe v. Wade”which since 1973 has guaranteed women’s right to abortion throughout the country.
“If ‘Roe v. Wade’ is repealed, at least 26 states will ‘definitely or probably’ ban abortions”according to a study cited by NPR. “It could affect 36 million women”.
So the voltage is “up a notch” in recent weeks, observes the washington post. “Abortion rights advocates and opponents — aware of the impending historic moment that could reshuffle the cards in American political and social life — have redoubled their efforts and scheduled protests this weekend.” .
Umbrellas and drums
Perhaps the most iconic gathering was in Washington, home of the Supreme Court, where “After listening to speeches by pro-abortion activists, elected officials and religious leaders, thousands of demonstrators pounded the pavement for an hour all the way to the Supreme Court, under heavy and sometimes rainy skies”recount USA Today.
“Many of the participants were dressed in ponchos and shouted, under their umbrellas, ‘Hands off our bodies’ and ‘We will fight’, to the sound of drums”adds the daily. “Some doubted this conservative Supreme Court would change its mind and defend ‘Roe v. Wade’. But they still wanted to make their voices heard”.
In Los Angeles, where thousands of people gathered in a large park in front of downtown City Hall, the Los Angeles Times spoke to Shante Young, 28, and his companion Dylan Sánchez, 30. “If they start depriving women of their rights, they will also deprive us of the right to vote”fears Shante. “And then what will it be? It is very scary”. Dylan shares his partner’s concerns: “I’m afraid that one thing will lead to another, that it will be a domino effect”, he said. In these conditions, “the most important thing is to show that we are there”.
In many demonstrations, elected Democrats marched at the head of the procession. “With the midterm elections just months away, President Biden and congressional Democrats hope to use the debate to motivate their constituents”observe the New York Times. Congress could indeed legislate on the right to abortion – and nullify any decision of the Supreme Court – but the Democratic majority in the Senate is far too narrow.
No later than Wednesday, “Democratic senators failed to pass a law guaranteeing abortion rights nationwide, in the face of opposition from Republicans and a Democrat, Joe Manchin”writes the New York daily.
As Americans took to the streets to defend a right won hard-fought nearly 50 years ago, Clarence Thomas, one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justices – and a fierce opponent of abortion – returned on Saturday to the leak of the draft decision of the Court, considering that it had “permanently destroys trust in the highest court in the land”according to Politico.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution I belong to, it fundamentally changes the institution. You start looking over your shoulder”said the judge in Dallas, in front of an audience of African-American conservatives.