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1000’s Gather at Marches for Abortion Rights

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WASHINGTON — 1000’s of marchers converged within the nation’s capital and across the country on Saturday to indicate their support for abortion rights nearly two weeks after the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that may overturn Roe v. Wade.

A crowd of protesters gathered near the Washington Monument before marching to the Supreme Court, with some wearing shirts that read “Bans Off Our Bodies” and “Keep Abortion Protected and Legal.” They vowed to fight to preserve abortion rights, whilst some accepted that Roe would most probably be overturned.

Colleen Lunsford, 42, a lawyer from Arlington, Va., brought her 5-year-old daughter, Orla. Pointing to her daughter, she said she attended the march for “her future and autonomy.”

“I’m terrified,” Ms. Lunsford said. “We did our greatest to elect a Democratic president and House and Senate, and this continues to be happening.”

Greater than 450 marches across the country were set to happen on Saturday, said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, the chief director of the Women’s March, a nonprofit organization that helped organize the event and other protests supporting women’s rights. Organizers had been planning a national march for abortion rights before the draft opinion leaked, but they fast-tracked the event after the opinion was published. Ms. O’Leary Carmona said she hoped the events would allow demonstrators to “construct power, each civically and electorally.”

“Folks are mobilizing because they see that the hour is later than we thought,” she said.

The marches took place after the publication this month of the draft opinion, which showed that the Supreme Court appeared poised to overturn Roe, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed the best to abortion. The court’s ruling shouldn’t be expected until June or early July.

With the midterm elections months away, President Biden and congressional Democrats are hoping to make use of the difficulty to energise voters. Democratic senators failed on Wednesday to advance laws to ensure abortion rights nationwide within the face of opposition from Republicans and one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.

In Washington, Elizabeth Moser, 34, a communications specialist from Burke, Va., said she hoped the marches would galvanize voters and politicians.

Although she had been planning to vote within the midterms, she said she was now considering driving people to the polls and texting her friends to encourage them to attend other rallies in support of abortion rights.

“I’m out here attempting to construct a movement,” said Ms. Moser, who wore a red bandanna and held up an indication that read, “I is not going to go quietly back to the Nineteen Fifties.”

In Brooklyn, 1000’s of abortion rights supporters gathered in Cadman Plaza Park before marching to Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. Volunteers offered snacks and signs with phrases like “Stand With Black Women.”

For some, protesting the draft opinion was not nearly protecting the best to abortion.

Lillian Penafiel, 35, and her wife, Emi Penafiel, 44, fearful about what a ruling would mean for marriage equality, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and voting rights.

“They’ve been very clear, especially what was written up, that our rights are going to be threatened as well, too, in order that’s why we’re nervous,” Emi Penafiel said. “They’re coming in any case of it.”

Madeleine Ngo reported from Washington, and Lola Fadulu from Latest York.

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