Nicolas Pineau (in Washington), edited by Gauthier Delomez with AFP
“Hands off our bodies!”: Thousands of protesters take to the streets of the United States on Saturday to defend the right to abortion, threatened by the Supreme Court which seems ready to go back, 50 years after its historic decision to protect abortion. “We are done with attacks on abortion. We are demonstrating today to say it loud and clear: do not touch our bodies,” said Women’s March in a tweet on Saturday, one of the organizations behind of this great day of action.
About 450 processions throughout the country
Some 450 parades are organized across the country, including large marches in Washington, New York, Chicago, Austin and Los Angeles. In the capital, the parade is due to start at 2 p.m. local time (6 p.m. GMT) to head towards the Supreme Court building. At least 17,000 people are expected, according to the organizers. Even if it is supported by a majority of the population, according to recent polls, the right to abortion has been a very divisive social issue since the historic “Roe v. Wade” decision of January 1973, which protects the right of American women to terminate their pregnancies.
The Supreme Court, which must render its decision by the end of June on a Mississippi law limiting the legal deadlines for abortion, has been in turmoil since the beginning of May and the revelation by the Politico news site of a draft judgment. which, if adopted as is, will grant American states the right to prohibit or authorize abortions.
The Supreme Court steeped in conservatism
Abortion is already restricted in 23 Republican-led states, and more are awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court, now firmly entrenched in conservatism, to follow that path. Twenty conservative states have already promised to make it illegal, some even in cases of rape or incest, which would force women to travel thousands of miles to have an abortion. Since the revelations of Politico, groups – more or less dense – come every evening to shout their anger in front of the American temple of law, an imposing white marble building now protected by a fence.
And some demonstrators protest to cries of “my body, my choice” even in front of the home of conservative judges of the Court in the wealthy suburbs of the capital. If the judgment is canceled, “it will be horrible” predicted to AFP Linda Coffee, who at the time represented Jane Roe, and who today castigates a “very vocal minority” of opponents to abortion .
Support that could come from the economic world
The elected Democrats in Congress, who have promised to protect the right to abortion in the states where they are in the majority, also called on Friday for a large mobilization by gathering on the steps of the Congress which faces the Court supreme. “We won’t stop fighting until everyone, and I mean everyone, has access to safe and legal abortions, regardless of income, zip code or ethnicity,” promised elected official Barbara Lee, who has in the past publicly spoken about her own clandestine abortion.
Without the Supreme Court, the options for protecting this right at the federal level are slim. The Chamber did vote last fall for a law guaranteeing access to abortion throughout the country. But this text does not manage for the moment to pass the stage of the Senate, where the Democrats do not have a sufficient majority.
For progressives, support could also come from the economic world. More and more companies, which have long avoided this subject, are taking a stand for the right to abortion with the emergence of a new generation of leaders with different expectations. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also warned of “very damaging economic consequences” if women’s “right to decide when, and if, they want to have children” were undermined.