Abortion protests continue after Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade

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The nation’s capital and cities across the country were gearing up Saturday for a second day of huge street protests after the Supreme Court’s historic overturning of Roe vs. Wade was met with an outpouring of joy and rage Friday night.

By 10 a.m. Saturday, a few hundred people had gathered outside the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. “Not your womb, not your choice,” they chanted. Some abortion rights advocates formed a semi-circle in front of the building as girls and adults walked forward. One of them took the megaphone and led the crowd in defiant chants, refusing to accept the court’s decision.

“I disagree,” read a sign, demanding “separation of church and state” and calling on Congress to “codify Roe.”

At one point, a man rode by, disrupting a speech, playing religious music and displaying a ‘JESUS ​​SAVE’ sign, as an abortion rights protester shouted at him, ‘Give up the court ! »

Later, 11-year-old Penelope Hall of Blacksburg, Va., took the megaphone to the Supreme Court to deliver her message: “The decision they’ve made doesn’t affect them,” she said. “But it affects me, my friends and my family.”

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Other protesters cheered loudly as she handed the megaphone to the next speaker. Later, with her father, Nathan Hall, standing next to her, Penelope said she wanted to tell the court that abortion was her right. Nathan Hall, 44, said he was “proud of her confidence and ability to articulate her voice. One of her first dream jobs was to be on the Supreme Court protecting women’s rights.

DC police said they activated the entire department — placing officers on standby in case of violence or vandalism — throughout the weekend. On Friday, dozens of police inspected the scene as a peaceful but spirited crowd gathered outside the courthouse less than two hours after the ruling was announced. Security fencing surrounded the courthouse and officers armed with long guns watched the crowd from the rooftop.

On Friday, thousands of abortion-rights supporters gathered in downtown Washington to attack the decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which a majority of judges ruled that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to abortion. Other marches to protest the decision took place in New York, Chicago, Nashville, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities. After a draft of the advisory leaked last month, few were surprised. But many were still in shock.

As of Friday night, no arrests had been made and the dueling factions of passionate protesters appeared to have largely avoided serious clashes.

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The scene outside the court in the immediate wake of the Dobbs decision captured the wildly divergent reactions of Americans at a pivotal moment in one of the nation’s most bitter debates. Anti-abortion activists overjoyed in a long-sought legal victory as abortion rights supporters expressed their fury and despair.

As Friday wore on, the crowd’s mood changed as most anti-abortion protesters left and more abortion-rights supporters began pouring into downtown Washington. About 1,000 people chanted and held signs outside the Supreme Court denouncing the decision. The protesters were joined at one point by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), who vowed via a borrowed megaphone that activists on the political left would work to restore rights revoked by the court.

About 1,000 more protesters gathered for a march beginning at Union Station, a half-mile from the Supreme Court, and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) spoke at a Planned Parenthood office in the district to denounce the decision. On Friday evening, a small group of protesters banged drums and chanted at the entrance to Judge Clarence Thomas’ Fairfax Station precinct, which was guarded by a pair of Fairfax County police cars.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, the crowd at Union Station joined those already gathered at the Supreme Court and the protest dragged on late into the evening.

On Friday in New York, thousands of people gathered in Washington Square and Union Square. In Chicago, a Planned Parenthood official, speaking to hundreds of protesters in Federal Plaza, predicted that Illinois would soon see an influx of people from more conservative Midwestern states seeking abortions.

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