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in Washington, a bitter demonstration to protect the right to abortion


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Thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington on Saturday, fearing that in June the Supreme Court would end the right to abortion. Many have expressed fatalism over the judges’ upcoming decision, while promising to fight at the polls for November’s midterm elections. Report.

“The whole world is watching us”, “Abortion is a human right”, “Forced birth = violence”, “Women are going to die”. Under the windows of the Supreme Court, Saturday, May 14 in Washington, the signs call for awareness. Because for half of the American population, a right guaranteed for nearly fifty years is threatened with disappearance. The conservative majority of the nine judges of the Supreme Court could indeed decide, as early as June, to overturn the Roe v. Wade who, in 1973, legalized abortion at the federal level. In any case, this is the content of a draft opinion that leaked recently.

And yet, during the demonstration “Bans off our Bodies” (which could be translated as “Do not touch our bodies”) this Saturday, the energy was not overflowing in the American capital. A bit like the weather, gray and leaden. The organizers were expecting at most 17,000 people. Nothing to do with the half-million demonstrators of the Women’s March of 2017, a human tide that swept through Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Pro-choice protesters gathered outside the Washington Monument before heading to the Supreme Court, Saturday, May 14, 2022. © Yona Helaoua, France 24

“It’s too late,” sobs Vanessa Aburn near the Washington Monument, where protesters had gathered before converging on the Supreme Court. “Elections have consequences. From the moment he entered the White House, I knew it was over,” she continues, withholding the name of former Republican President Donald Trump, who appointed three conservative judges to the Supreme Court, tilting the institution on the anti-abortion side. “We’re going to have to live with that, and that’s tragic.”

“It’s terrifying”

Vanessa was born in 1957. Before, therefore, the use of abortion is protected by Roe v. Wade. “I was too young to protest, but when this right was finally guaranteed, I was able to benefit from it. I did not have to worry. I had the right to have an abortion, and I did so. fact.” So the idea that this right disappears for the current generation and the following ones freezes his blood. “I will not go back quietly to the 1950s”, proclaims its sign. “I may come to France, well, I’m going to follow you,” she says bitterly, before regaining her seriousness: “I’ve already planned to be under the steps of the Supreme Court every day for a month if necessary.


If the Sages did indeed overrule Roe v. Wade in June, twenty Republican states, mainly in the south of the country, could restrict or ban abortion. “I live in North Carolina, and my state could be on the list,” sighs Liz, a 31-year-old nurse who seems to be struggling to realize the possibility of such a situation in 2022, in a democratic country, first world power. “It’s terrifying.”

She ponders next steps, assuming the dice are already cast on the side of the nine judges. “Abort the Supreme Court,” reads his placard. “Judges are appointed for life, their term should have a limit,” said the young woman, who also says she is seduced by the possibility of expanding the number of judges in order to appoint progressives and rebalance the Court politically.


On the ground, Liz promises to continue to support associations defending the right to abortion, and stresses the importance of “participating in pots for women who will not have the means to travel to another state to have an abortion. “.

“We need more pro-choice elected officials”

Brittany Vanpelt, a 25-year-old African-American, agrees: “If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it’s going to be a very difficult time for women in the United States, especially women of color and women in poverty A lot of conservatives say they care about life, but they don’t care after the baby is born They hate food stamps and government assistance programs, but if women can no longer abort, they will depend more on government support. That is why I encourage others to vote in the midterm elections in November: we need more pro-elected choice.”


If the decision of June leaves little hope to the demonstrators, it is indeed the deadline of November which was in the minds on Saturday: “The conservative movement has spent decades ensuring that the Supreme Court looks what it is today. They had only one goal: to overturn Roe v. Wade. So I doubt that public pressure will change the opinion of any of the judges “, reasons Emily Crockett, a 38-year-old mother clinging to her stroller.

“However, what we can do is shout our anger, fight back, and remind people that this is all real. Because until now, many Americans have never taken seriously the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Now they have understood. But the majority of the population supports the choice to have an abortion. And will realize that it is no longer possible to support the Republicans. If the Democrats focus on this issue, they can win the midterm elections.”


Emily Crockett’s hope, like that of many others, is to see a Democratic majority in the Senate large enough to enshrine abortion in law. A Democratic text in this direction failed this week, for lack of sufficient votes. For this mother, it is also a question of protecting her 12-month-old daughter: “I chose to have her, and I love her with all my heart, and if I had to do it again, I would do it again. But I want her to have a choice too.”



France 24-Trans

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