(Reuters) – Thousands of abortion-rights supporters demonstrate across the United States on Saturday, sparking what organizers called a “summer of rage” if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade case who legalized abortion nationwide.
Here are some voices from the rallies in New York, Washington, Atlanta and Los Angeles:
Gabriela Fraga, 35, held a “pregnant by choice” sign at the New York rally. Fraga, who was born and raised in a Catholic family in Peru, is 32 weeks pregnant and said she has always been very pro-choice.
“I believe in the basic right of all people capable of bearing children to make decisions. This belief has only reinforced myself during my pregnancy,” she said.
“I only got pregnant when I got pregnant because I had the conditions – material, emotional, psychological – to allow a good life for this child that I can’t wait to have.”
Jillian Larussa, 27, said Roe v. Wade should be enacted “because it’s about health care.”
“It’s not the end,” she said as she crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. “It’s going to happen for gay marriage, it’s going to happen for contraceptives, so it’s important that we take to the streets and fight this before we lose our rights.”
Elizabeth Leek, a 75-year-old massage therapist, held a sign that read “Grandma Says Respect Women’s Choice” and wore a wreath at the “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally in front of the Washington Monument.
Leek said she nearly died from an unsafe abortion when she was 18, before Roe v. Wade. Now she feels “outraged” and fears for her six grandchildren. She said she was fighting for them to have health care and bodily autonomy.
“It breaks my heart,” she said of the court’s draft opinion. But she still felt carried by the crowds of people, young and old, who had come out to demonstrate on Saturday.
“It’s the momentum,” she said.
Brita Van Rossum, a 62-year-old landscaper, had come to the Washington protest from her home in suburban Philadelphia.
She said it was the first time she had demonstrated specifically for abortion rights.
“I’m outraged,” she said. “If you can’t choose whether you want to have a baby, if that’s not a basic right, then I don’t know what is.”
Patricia Fulton, a 52-year-old graphic designer from the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, said, “I’m angry and I’m going to stay angry.”
Fulton, who was at the rally in front of the Georgia State House, said the US Democratic Party needed to be stronger if Roe V. Wade was to be defended.
“There is public outrage, but we need more leadership from those who can do something,” Fulton said.
Malcolm DeCesare, 34, a critical care nurse from New York who was at the rally in front of Los Angeles City Hall, said that as a medical professional, “I understand and believe very strongly that we can never ban safe abortions.
“By banning abortion, or even proposing to ban abortion, we are relegating an entire population of women to the dark ages,” DeCesare said. “We put them in great danger.”
Shannon Flaherty, a 52-year-old woman who was studying nursing after years as a homemaker, attended the Los Angeles protest with her 16-year-old daughter, Piper, and two of her daughter’s friends.
She said she and her own mother “lived with men who made decisions about our bodies and our lives for a long, long time and it had to end”.
Piper said the draft decision was a sign that history was going the other way.
“It really angers me that people want to control this, especially when there are so many other things people could do to save lives, like overturning the death penalty or providing free health care,” he said. she declared.
(Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York, Gabriella Borter in Washington, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Costas Pitas in Los Angeles; Writing by Raphael Satter; Editing by Richard Chang)
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