By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Thousands of people in New York City stood in solidarity May 3, at rallies in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. The demonstrations, and those around the country, were in response to a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“This confirms what we’ve known to be true especially over the last four years: that SCOTUS turning back the clock on Roe v. Wade was likely,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “This is a moment of outrage. Our country must not go backwards on reproductive rights. We must not back down. New York City and New York State must always remain a Destination State for abortion access, no matter what!”
News of the draft SCOTUS opinion reversing constitutional abortion rights broke on Politico Monday night. Word quickly spread via social media and many gathered outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. People in New York and around the country organized to protest any SCOTUS decision that would jeopardize reproductive rights in America.
Governors of New York and New Jersey immediately took measures to shore up reproductive rights guarantees, and several Congress members proposed eliminating the filibuster to move protective federal legislation forward.
Abortion is still legal today. But the ruling as drafted in February would end a 50-year guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights for women and girls. It would shift the decision, leaving it up to each state whether to restrict or ban abortion.
Protesting under the Bans Off Our Bodies banner, New Yorkers are determined to make sure their state remains an access state for safe, affordable abortion care and all forms of reproductive care. Any bans will disproportionately affect people seeking abortions who are marginalized, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, have no insurance access, live in healthcare deserts, are disabled, and those with low incomes.
Pro-choice activists said, “This is a community wellness issue that threatens access to health care for millions. Government has no business interfering in our personal health care decisions. Politicians with their own agendas should not be dictating private health care procedures like abortion. Those decisions should be left to patients, families, and doctors.”
“The right to control our bodies is a fundamental right enshrined in the 14th amendment. And if they go after this right, who’s next?” State Attorney General Letitia James told the Foley Square crowd. “I will not allow Justice Alito or any other judge on the Supreme Court to dictate to me or to you how to use your body… It is not in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. It’s in our hands.”