Large marches are to be held in Washington, New York, Chicago, Austin or Los Angeles, as the Supreme Court looks set to turn back 50 years.
“Hands off our bodies!”: Thousands of demonstrators are expected Saturday in the streets of the United States to defend the right to abortion, threatened by the Supreme Court which seems ready to go back, 50 years after its historic decision to protect abortion. Some 400 processions are organized across the country, including large marches in Washington, New York, Chicago, Austin and Los Angeles, according to the organizers of this day of action.
Even if it is supported by a majority of the population (around 70%), according to recent polls, the right to abortion has been a very divisive social issue since the historic “Roe v. Wade” of January 1973, which protects the right of American women to terminate their pregnancies. “On Saturday, our elected leaders, Supreme Court justices, corporations that fund anti-abortion interests will hear from us”said Sonja Spoo, an official of the feminist organization UltraViolet, who promises other actions.
Pending the judgment of the Court, which should be given by the end of June, “We are prepared to face this moment, whether by demonstrating in the streets, by making demands of elected officials, whatever the cost”, she said in a statement to AFP. The institution has been in turmoil since early May and the revelation by the Politico news site of a proposed ruling which, if passed as is, will grant US states the right to prohibit or authorize abortions.
A “very vocal minority”
The ability to have an abortion is already restricted in 23 Republican-run states and others are awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court, now firmly entrenched in conservatism, to in turn limit abortions. About 20 conservative states have already promised to make it illegal, some even in cases of rape or incest, which would force women to travel thousands of miles to have an abortion.
Since the revelations of Politico, groups – more or less dense – come every evening to shout their anger in front of the American temple of law, an imposing white marble building now protected by a fence. And some demonstrators are protesting to cries of “my body, my choice” even in front of the residence of conservative judges of the Court in the wealthy suburbs of the capital.
If the stop is cancelled, “this is going to be awful” predicted to AFP Linda Coffee, who represented Jane Roe at the time, and who today castigates a “very vocal minority” opponents of abortion. The elected Democrats in Congress, who have promised to protect the right to abortion in the states where they are in the majority, also called on Friday for a large mobilization by gathering on the steps of the Congress which faces the Court supreme. “We will not stop fighting until everyone, and I mean everyone, has access to safe and legal abortions, regardless of income, zip code or ethnicity”promised elected official Barbara Lee, who has in the past publicly discussed her own clandestine abortion.
Without the Supreme Court, the options for protecting this right at the federal level are slim. The Chamber did vote last fall for a law guaranteeing access to abortion throughout the country. But this text does not manage for the moment to pass the stage of the Senate, where the Democrats do not have a sufficient majority. For progressives, support could also come from the economic world. More and more companies, which have long avoided this subject, are taking a stand for the right to abortion with the emergence of a new generation of leaders with different expectations. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also warned of the consequences “very harmful to the economy” if the “women’s right to decide when, and if, they want to have children” was questioned.