Pro-abortion rights protesters rallied in cities around the United States, vowing to fight to ensure that abortion remains a legal option for women nationwide.
Hundreds gathered in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and other cities on Saturday, days after a draft Supreme Court opinion was leaked to the public suggesting the court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade case that legalised abortion in the country.
Roe v Wade prohibited states from banning abortions within the first trimester of pregnancy, arguing the hardship that would cause was a violation of an individual’s constitutionally protected right to privacy.
The draft opinion, which comes after nearly 50 years of federal abortion protection, could change before the ruling is finalised in the coming weeks.
“To think that, after all this time, people still want to control what women can do and our rights to make our personal healthcare decisions is just really outrageous,” Carole Levin, chair of Courts Matter Illinois, told WMAQ-TV during the rally in Chicago.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker attended the rally and vowed to protect reproductive rights.
“I’m proud Illinois is an island for reproductive freedom in the Midwest,” he said. “Our shores remain open for any person left marooned by these extremist politicians.”
In the nation’s capital, pro-abortion rights protesters stood outside the Supreme Court holding signs saying abortion is a human right and calling to “Abort the Court”. Anti-abortion rights protesters demonstrated across the street.
In Atlanta, demonstrators carried signs in favour of abortion rights as they marched through downtown and chanted: “Not the church and not the state, women must decide our fate.”
In Houston, thousands attended a reproductive rights rally headlined by Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is running for Texas governor. Texas is one of several states that would ban abortion – leaving no exceptions for rape or incest – if the high court overturns the nationwide right to abortion.
An investigation is under way to determine who leaked the Supreme Court draft opinion to news outlet Politico.