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Thousands gather across the country for abortion rights

Newsman:  Thousands of reproductive rights supporters are gathered in the nation’s capital and by state capitols  Saturday for a challenging task: persuading the Supreme Court not to reverse the 50-year precedent set by Roe v. Wade. Before Saturday’s protests, the Senate failed to pass a bill that would have enshrined a nationwide right to abortion.

Rallies took place across the country following the leak this month of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. That could affect 36 million women, in addition to more people who can become pregnant, Planned Parenthood says

The draft opinion has sparked a wave of protests. More than 100 Bans off Our Bodies rallies are set to take place Saturday across the United States, including New York, from Hawaii to California to Oklahoma to Washington, D.C.

In Washington, a sole anti-abortion activist stood off to the sidelines with a megaphone, yelling, “They’re not your bodies,” but the marchers shouted louder to drown him out.  activists have been rallying at the Supreme Court steps since the night the draft opinion was leaked. As many as 17,000 people are expected on the National Mall for the Bans off Our Bodies demonstration, according to a report by NBC4 Washington.

In New York, thousands gathered in Brooklyn’s courthouse plaza before marching across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan where another rally was planned.

Meanwhile in Chicago, thousands of protesters filled Union park near the city’s downtown, chanting “abortion is health care” and “abortion justice.”

There was a festive atmosphere and a sense of determination as people gathered at sign-up tables to volunteer with groups like Planned Parenthood of Illinois and the Chicago Abortion Fund. People carried a slew of signs: “Bans off our Bodies,” “I Remember 1973” and “Against Abortion? Don’t Have One”

More than 380 “Bans Off Our Bodies” demonstrations for abortion rights were planned for Saturday. Sponsors of the daylong event included Women’s March, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, MoveOn, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

Abortion rights advocates gathered after listening to speeches from activists, elected officials and faith leaders in the nation’s capital, thousands of demonstrators embarked on an hourlong march to the Supreme Court under cloudy skies and occasional drizzle, joining several hundred other demonstrators there.

Many attendees wore ponchos and carried umbrellas and shouted chants such as “Hands off our bodies” and “We will fight back” to the beat of bucket drums.

More than 1,000 demonstrators gathered at Legislative Plaza in Nashville, Tennessee, Saturday afternoon, and additional rallies were scheduled across the state.

Hundreds gathered in Fort Collins’ Old Town Square in Colorado for a rally featuring a dozen speakers, including a labor and delivery nurse who worked in a pre-Roe world, advocates for abortion rights and elected officials. 

Many people brought homemade signs with drawings of hangers saying, “Never again,” or phrases such as “Shame SCOTUS,” “Accept my existence or expect resistance” and “Women are no one’s property.”  Rallies were planned in Colorado Springs and Denver. 

About 400 people rallied in front of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, including mothers and daughters. Pink was the predominant color of the day, on T-shirts sporting messages including “Bans Off Our Bodies” and signs that said, “Abolish the Supreme Court” and “Abortion is health care.” 

In Austin, demonstrators stood at the steps of the Texas Capitol, banging drums, singing and chanting, “Abortion is a human right,” KVUE reported. Texas passed one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, prohibiting the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy.

Protesters predicted more rallies, especially after the Supreme Court issues its final ruling on Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy as some state legislatures consider outright bans.

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