Thousands of people were summoned today in over 400 cities of the country to defend the right to abortion, in a massive gesture of rejection of a wave of state laws designed to force the Supreme Court to rethink the decision that in 1973 legalized the termination of pregnancy in all the country.
The Supreme Court stairway in Washington became the main stage of the day of protests organized in response to the laws passed this year in eight states, and in particular to the one signed last week in Alabama, which prohibits abortion in practically all cases.
“This is something that the Supreme Court decided in the 70s and that should not be under attack now,” said to Efe Mary Tablante, a 27-year-old woman who was protesting in Washington.
The veto on abortion in Alabama, which does not include exceptions even in cases of rape or incest and threatens life imprisonment for doctors who practice abortions, openly defies the decision adopted by the Supreme 46 years ago, called “Roe versus Wade”.
Its promoters drafted the law with the express purpose of provoking litigation and compelling the country’s highest court to rule on the issue, hoping that the conservative majority in the court will erode the 1973 precedent.
Although none has yet come into force, Alabama’s legislation is in addition to other laws approved in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio or Georgia, which will prevent abortion once the fetus’ heartbeat is detected, something that can happen when many women still They do not know they are pregnant.
The questions “really?” and “still?”, inscribed on one of the banners waved before the Supreme, spoke for many of the attendees, outraged by having to defend a right that was guaranteed almost half a century ago.
“We’ve been doing this since we were in high school, and we’re still in the same fight,” Martha Lehman, 76, told Efe.
Lehman and her friend Lois Jacob, of the same age, remember the triumph for the feminist movement that meant the legalization of abortion at the national level, and believe that some Republicans continue attacking this right because it works as a “political weapon”.
“We have daughters, and granddaughters, and I want them to live in a better world,” explained Lehman, who warned that state laws hurt especially women with fewer resources.
A few meters away, Sara Flores-Shannon recalled that Hispanics “are the group that is growing the most in states like Alabama and Mississippi,” and that many Latinas face economic and language barriers to reproductive health services.
“We know that these new rules or laws will impact our community very much,” she said to Efe, adding that she works in Virginia for the National Institute of Latinas for Reproductive Health.
Due to the state measures approved in recent years, access to affordable reproductive services has drastically decreased, and in six states – Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, North Dakota and South Dakota – there is only one clinic left where practice abortions.
In Atlanta, Georgia, protesters shouted “remove from office” lawmakers who recently passed a restrictive law, while in San Francisco (California) the protagonists were several women dressed in the red suit popularized by the novel and the series “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
For the protest in Washington passed several Democratic candidates to the Presidency in the elections of 2020 – Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker -, which made it a campaign theme.
“This is something that President (Donald) Trump has unleashed,” denounced Gillibrand.
Trump recalled this weekend that supports abortion only in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother, which means that it is opposed to the law of Alabama but not other state measures, whose promoters have been emboldened for the antiabortion speech of the president and his vice president, Mike Pence.
“This is exactly what Trump, Pence and his army of anti-women politicians have been planning all this time, they have a particular plan in mind, a dystopian plan,” Leana said in an interview with the president of the network of Planned Parenthood clinics, Leana Wen.