Sunday was the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the U.S. but has since been overturned. Roe v. Wade was the decision that made abortion legal in the U.S., but it was overturned.
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe in June sparked a rush of new laws in the states, dividing them into those that limit or ban abortion and those that try to protect access. A national reckoning over sexual assaults sparked the Women’s March during Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in 2017.
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, the group said it had refocused on activism at the state level. “This fight is bigger than Roe,” the Women’s March said in a tweet. “They thought that we would stay home and that this would end with Roe — they were wrong.”
Dozens of Republican-run states have implemented broad bans on abortion, and several others want to do the same. But those changes have been canceled out by gains on the other side. In Kansas, Michigan, and Kentucky, people against abortion lost votes on ballot measures.
Several bans have been stopped from going into effect by state courts. Many things are being done to help people get abortions in states that allow them or to use medication to do them themselves.
And some states run by Democrats have taken steps to protect patients and providers from lawsuits from states where the procedure is illegal. The Women’s March organizers said that their next steps would focus primarily on actions at the state level.
But newly energized anti-abortion activists are turning their attention more and more to Congress to push for a possible national restriction on abortion in the future. The main march on Sunday took place in Wisconsin, where upcoming elections could change the balance of power on the state Supreme Court and the laws about abortion in the future.
But there were rallies in dozens of cities, including the capital of Florida, Tallahassee, where Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to a loud crowd. “Can we truly be free if families cannot make intimate decisions about the course of their own lives?” Harris said.
“And can we truly be free if so-called leaders claim to be … ‘on the vanguard of freedom’ while they dare to restrict the rights of the American people and attack the very foundations of freedom?”
In Madison, thousands of people who support abortion rights put on coats and gloves and marched downtown to the state Capitol in below-freezing weather. “It’s just basic human rights at this point,” said Alaina Gato, a Wisconsin resident who joined her mother, Meg Wheeler, on the steps of the Capitol to protest.
They said that they would vote in the Supreme Court election in April. Even though she said she was an independent voter, Wheeler also noted that she hoped to help at the polls and campaign for Democrats. “This is my daughter.” Wheeler said, “I want to make sure she has the right to choose whether she wants to have a child,”
Protesters from Chicago and Milwaukee took buses to the capital of Wisconsin. They were carrying banners and signs that asked the Legislature to get rid of the state’s ban.
Eliza Bennett, an OB-GYN in Wisconsin, said she could no longer help her patients get abortions after Roe was overturned. She asked lawmakers to give women the right to choose again. “They should be making decisions about what’s best for their health, not state legislatures,” she said.
There are no abortions in Wisconsin because abortion clinics don’t know if an 1849 law that banned the procedure is still in effect. The law, which says that abortion is illegal unless needed to save the patient’s life, is being challenged in court.
Some of them also had weapons. Lilith K., who wouldn’t say their last name, was standing on the sidewalk with protesters while holding an assault rifle and wearing a tactical vest with a handgun in a holster.
“With everything going on with women and other people losing their rights, and with the recent shootings at Club Q and other LGBTQ night clubs, it’s just a message that we’re not going to take this sitting down,” Lilith said.
There were also people there to protest the march. Most of them had signs with religious reasons why they didn’t like abortion rights. “I don’t want to get involved with politics.” John Goeke, from Wisconsin, said, “I’m more interested in what the law of God says,”
Without the federal protections Roe v. Wade gave, abortion rights are now different in each state. Since June, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia have implemented laws that make abortion almost impossible.
Several of these bans are being challenged in court. The only clinic in North Dakota has moved to Minnesota, which is in a different state. Lawmakers in Ohio, Indiana, and Wyoming passed bans, but state courts have stopped them until they can be challenged.
And on January 5, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that a law that made it illegal to have an abortion after six weeks went against a state constitutional right to privacy. The 1849 ban was challenged in June by the state’s attorney general, Josh Kaul.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, controlled by conservatives and has ruled in favor of Republicans for decades, is likely to hear the case. Officially, races for the court are nonpartisan, but candidates have been aligning themselves with either conservatives or liberals for years, making the races expensive partisan battles.
On Sunday, there were going to be women’s rallies in almost every state. The rally in Long Beach, California, was going to be attended by the oldest daughter of Norma McCorvey, whose legal case under the name “Jane Roe” led to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Latest: ‘Here again’: Abortion activists rally 50 years after Roe
From beach cities to snow-covered streets, abortion supporters rallied by the thousands on Sunday to demand protections for reproductive rights and mark the 50th anniversary of the now-overturned
— I AM Modi Totlani Krishan🇮🇳 (@kktotlani) January 23, 2023
Melissa Mills said that the Women’s March was her first one. Mills told The Associated Press, “It’s just unbelievable that we’re here again, doing the same thing my mom did,” Mills told The Associated Press. “We’ve lost 50 years of hard work.”
Since millions of people marched in the US and worldwide the day after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the Women’s March has become a regular event. The coronavirus pandemic stopped it for a while, though.
Trump made it a goal of his presidency to pick conservative judges. Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, the three conservative justices he put on the U.S. Supreme Court, all voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.
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