US Women’s March: Nationwide protests lobby Supreme Court over abortion rights

They began in response to Donald Trump’s presidency. The annual Women’s March, held for the first time since the election of Joe Biden, sparked …

They began in response to Donald Trump’s presidency. The annual Women’s March, held for the first time since the election of Joe Biden, sparked nationwide protests and drew thousands to the U.S. capital on Saturday.

The focus of this year’s march is abortion. Demonstrators are demanding continued access in a year when conservative lawmakers and judges have put them in jeopardy.

The demonstrations came two days before the start of a new Supreme Court term that will decide the future of abortion rights in the United States, after judicial appointments by President Donald Trump strengthened conservative control of the high court.

Last year, Texas passed the most restrictive laws in the U.S., banning most abortions since early last month.

That case is now being heard in federal court, where a judge has the power to overturn the ban. On Friday, he was asked by President Joe Biden to do just that.

In Washington, protesters gathered in a plaza near the White House, waving signs and chanting. Some wore T-shirts that simply read “1973,” a reference to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that made abortions legal for generations of American women.

“I think it’s critical for women today to really fight for what we fought for when Roe v. Wade decided that women have the right to make their own decisions. I don’t think it’s right for anyone to tell women that they don’t have the right to decide what they do to their own bodies,” said Madison Berkowitz, communications major.

“We should be able to have our own choice about what we do with our own bodies, period. And I’m tired of someone else trying to own me or tell me what I can or can’t do needs to put a stop to that,” added Laura Bushwitz, a retired teacher from Florida.

Rally for Abortion Justice on Saturday, Oct. 02, 2021 in Washington.

Organisers say the Washington march was among hundreds of abortion-themed protests held around the country.

On the West Coast, thousands marched through downtown Los Angeles to a rally in front of City Hall. Protesters chanted “Abortion on demand and without apology: only revolution can make women free!”

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at rallies in Seneca Falls and then Albany. “I’m sick and tired of having to fight over abortion rights,” she said. “It’s settled law in the nation and you are not taking that right away from us, not now not ever.”

In Springfield, Illinois, several hundred people rallied on the Old State Capitol square. Prominent among them were the Illinois Handmaids, wearing red robes and white bonnets reminiscent of the subjugated women of Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” and carrying signs that said, “Mind Your Own Uterus” and “Mother By Choice.”

At an unrelated event in Maine, Republican Senator Susan Collins called the Texas law “extreme, inhumane and unconstitutional” and said she was working to make Roe v. Wade the “law of the land”, working with two Democrats and another Republican.

But an opponent of women’s access to abortion called this year’s march theme “macabre.”

“What about equal rights for unborn women?” tweeted Jeanne Mancini, president of an anti-abortion group called March for Life.

The Women’s March has become a regular event — although interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic — since millions of women turned out in the United States and around the world the day after the January 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump.

Trump endorsed punishing women for getting abortions and made appointment of conservative judges a mission of his presidency.

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