'Betrayed' by the Court: From Tulsa to Nashville to Salt Lake City to New York, huge protests erupted on Friday in defense of abortion rights
- Rallies were held in multiple cities hours after the
Supreme Courtstruck down Roe v. Wade.
Hours after the Supreme Court announced it had struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, throngs of protesters took to the streets in U.S. cities, vowing to continue the fight for
New York City
In New York's Washington Square Park, a somber and angry crowd began assembling at 5 p.m. ET. They held handwritten signs with words like "Betrayed" or "My corpse has more rights." Some were smeared with red paint.
"The justices have blood on their hands," one of the protesters explained.
"I just keep saying it's an incredibly sad day," said Marianna Ban, 20, a member of the group NYC Radical Women. "We knew it was coming and now it's here. But it's hopeful how many people showed up today that is a little glimmer of hope."
Los Angeles, California
In downtown Los Angeles, a protest outside the federal courthouse attracted a diverse crowd of about 300 people. (A larger demonstration has been announced for Saturday at 1 pm at the same location.)
Speaker after speaker warned that the Supreme Court's new arch-conservative majority could target same-sex marriage and protections for trans people next. They also faulted the Democratic Party for not doing enough to stop this and letting them down.
Still, they vowed to not let up in holding rallies and speaking out.
Thirteen states — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming — have abortion ban "trigger laws" on the books. According to these laws, once the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, removing any right to an abortion, a ban would automatically take effect.
Abortion remained legal on Friday in Tennessee, another state with an abortion ban trigger law, but it wasn't clear when that would end. State officials, including the state's attorney general, have signaled that a ban should take effect quickly.
But in Nashville, District Attorney Glenn Funk released a statement saying he would not prosecute anyone for seeking abortions. "I will use my constitutional powers to protect women, health providers and those making personal health decisions," Funk said, according to The Tennessean.
"In 2014, the people of Davidson County elected me to enforce the laws while exercising discretion to promote the public good," Funk said.
Meanwhile, in downtown Nashville, advocates of abortion access gathered at Davidson County Courthouse. Among them were local physicians, some dressed in scrubs. protester, Katie Heithcock of Franklin, Tenn., had the words "Bans off our bodies" written across her stomach.
Some of the protesters spoke about their own experiences getting abortions and their anger and despair knowing that that care will now be so much more difficult, if not impossible, for others to access.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana is another state with an abortion ban "trigger law." On Friday evening, people who opposed the decision began gathering in Lafayette Square, across from the federal appeals court, in New Orleans.
"We demand that Mayor Cantrell and DA Williams not enforce any anti-choice law — state, federal, or otherwise," said David Eden Abraham of Real Name NOLA, one of several organizations that organized the protest. "We are demanding that no healthcare system that no person experiencing a miscarriage or signs of a self managed abortion be reported to the police. We're also demanding that the Louisiana State Police stay out of the city."
"We've grown up our whole lives with certain inalienable rights and we're seeing them be stripped away one by one," said one of the protesters, Heather Geller.
Abortion has been effectively prohibited in Oklahoma for two months. On April 12, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill banning most abortions from the point of fertilization.
In Tulsa, the Tulsa Women's Clinic has had no choice but to turn those seeking abortions away. Anti-abortion protesters still appear nearly every day across from the clinic.
On Friday evening, protesters gathered to express their outrage at the actions of the high court and of their own elected officials.
Little Rock, Arkansas
The mood was of course much different in states where opposition to abortion access is widespread.
In Little Rock, Arkansas — another trigger law state — fewer than a dozen anti-abortion protesters, along with about five kids, gathered on Friday afternoon outside Little Rock Family Planning Services, one of two clinics in the state that provides abortion services.
"Christ knows I'm here and that's all that matters," one of them said when a photographer asked if she could be photographed.
Three pro-choice advocates were also at the clinic, standing near clinic staff who help assist patients who seek services at the clinic.
Salt Lake City, Utah
In Salt Lake City, around one thousand protesters came to the state Capitol building, which looks out toward the Wasatch Mountains.
This story has been updated.
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