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

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Thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington on Saturday, fearing the Supreme Court in June would end the right to abortion. Many expressed their fatalistic attitude toward the judges’ forthcoming decision, while promising to fight at the polls in the November midterm elections. a report.

“The whole world is watching us”, “Abortion is a human right”, “Forced birth = violence”, “Women will die”. Under the windows of the United States Supreme Court, Saturday 14 May in Washington, banners calling for awareness. Because for half the American population, a right that has been guaranteed for nearly fifty years is threatened with disappearance. A conservative majority of the Supreme Court’s nine justices could already decide, as early as June, to drop the Roe v. Wade who legalized abortion at the federal level in 1973. Anyway, that’s the content of a recently leaked draft opinion.

However, during Saturday’s “Ban Our Bodies” demonstration (which can be translated as “Pass Tas Enos Corps”) the US capital did not overflow with energy. A little like the weather, gray and gray. Organizers were expecting a maximum of 17,000 people. It has nothing to do with the half-million protesters at the 2017 Women’s March, the human tide that swept through Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Abortion rights protesters gather outside the Washington Monument before heading to the Supreme Court, Saturday, May 14, 2022. © Yona Helou, France 24

“It’s too late,” Vanessa Abern sighed near the Washington Monument, where protesters had gathered before meeting at the Supreme Court. “Elections have consequences. From the moment he entered the White House, I knew it was over,” she continued, withholding the name of former Republican President Donald Trump, who had appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, flipping the establishment to one side. of anti-abortion. “We have to live with that, and it’s tragic.”

“He’s creepy”

Vanessa was born in 1957. Therefore, the use of abortion was protected by Roe v. valley. “I was too young to object, but when that right was finally secured, I was able to take advantage of it. I had nothing to worry about. I had the right to an abortion, and I did. Indeed.” So the idea that this right vanishes to the current generation and freezes its blood for those who follow. “I won’t quietly go back to the 1950s,” the sign proclaims. “I might come to France, well, I will follow you,” she said bitterly, before she resumed her earnestness: “I have already planned to be at the bottom of the steps in the Supreme Court every day for a month if necessary.


If the sages really overruled Roe v. Wade in June, 20 Republican states, mostly in the south of the country, can restrict or ban abortion. “Je vis en Caroline du Nord, et mon état pourrait faire partie de la liste”, soupire Liz, une infirmière de 31 ans qui semble avoir du mal à réaliser la possibilité d’une telle situation en 2022, dans un pays démorecratique, global power. “It’s terrifying.”

She is considering next steps, assuming the dice have already been cast on the side of the nine judges. The sign reads “Abortion of the Supreme Court.” “Judges are appointed for life, and their terms should have limits,” said the young woman, who also says she is fond of the possibility of increasing the number of judges in order to appoint progressives and bring the court back to politically balanced.


On the ground, Liz pledges to continue supporting associations that defend the right to abortion, and stresses the importance of “sharing pots for women who would not have the means to travel to another country to have an abortion.”

“We need more pro-choice elected officials”

Brittany Vanbelt, a 25-year-old African American agrees: “If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, this would be a very difficult time for women in the United States, especially women of color and women living in poverty. “Many Conservatives say they care about life, but don’t care after the baby is born. They hate food stamps and government assistance programs, but if a woman can no longer have an abortion, she will rely more on government support. That’s why I encourage others to vote in the midterm elections.” In November: We need more pro-election options [en faveur du droit à l’avortement, NDLR]. “


If the June decision leaves protesters with little hope, here’s the November deadline they have in mind on Saturday: “The conservative movement has spent decades ensuring that the Supreme Court looks what it does today. They had only one goal. : to overturn Roe v. Wade. So I doubt that public pressure will change any of the judges’ opinion,” said Emily Crockett, a 38-year-old mother clinging to her stroller.

“However, what we can do is shout out our anger, strike back, and remind people that all of this is real. Because until now, not many Americans have taken seriously the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned. And now they understand. But the majority of the population is in favor of the abortion option.” And they will realize that the Republicans can no longer be supported.If the Democrats focus on this issue, they can win the midterm elections.


Emily Crockett, like many others, hopes to see a Democratic majority in the Senate large enough to legalize abortion. A Democratic text failed in that direction this week, for lack of enough votes. For this mom, it’s also about protecting her 12-month-old daughter: “I chose to have her, 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.”

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