Protesters assembled in front of Los Angeles City Hall last weekend to express outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established abortion as a constitutional right.
“Abortion rights affect everyone, especially women of color, especially people who don’t have lots of financial stability,” said 19-year-old Sophia, a protester who would like to keep their last name private. “I’m here to represent the trans community. I’m here for my partner. I’m here because I’m tired of hearing people say we just need to wait and vote. I’m tired of stagnation.”
The Supreme Court issued its 6-3 ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case that reaffirmed Roe, on Friday, June 24. Since then, protests have erupted across the nation.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the court “should reconsider” its past standpoints on the right to contraception and same-sex marriage.
“I can’t not be out here,” Sophia said. “It’s my rights on the line. I want to be able to marry my partner. Everyone who I love and care about, and even those who I don’t love or don’t know, deserve the same rights.”
“We want this decision to be overturned,” said 34-year-old Becca Waite, an organizer with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. “We want Roe to be codified. We want to send a message that there’s not another moment, there’s not another hour, there’s not another day that this decision can stand.”
Protesters held homemade signs displaying messages such as “pro-women, pro-choice” and chanted phrases including “I am not your incubator.” They scribbled abortion rights messages on the sidewalk in white chalk, clapped for honking cars that drove by and sat in circles to discuss their frustrations and plans of action.
“This is an important beginning,” said 45-year-old Annie Day, an organizer with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. “It’s going to have to grow by leaps and bounds. That’s what we’re wrestling with. We need to recognize that we cannot rely on the elections. We cannot wait until November.”
Many of those who were gathered on Sunday expressed that this decision affected them deeply and personally. Bailey Davenport, 32, said in an interview that their grandmother was raped in the 1920s and, without any abortion protections, was forced to marry her rapist, giving birth to five children during their marriage.
“The thing that I’m most afraid of, right now, is that this isn’t just stripping women of their rights, but stripping people of their humanity,” Davenport said. “We’ve become second-class citizens.”
Davenport said their father sexually abused them when they were a child living in Missouri and they fear for young girls who are in similar situations that they were in.
“There’s no exceptions for rape or incest in the state of Missouri,” Davenport said. “This is inhuman.”
Despite the anger the ruling caused them, Davenport said they were “proud to be here” to protest. Davenport, along with many protesters and organizers, emphasized the importance of safety and maintaining one’s mental and physical health.
“People need to take care of each other at this time,” Davenport said. “This is a really scary time. Emotions are running high. We need to take care of ourselves as much as we can and we need to try to take care of each other.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated June 28 at 2:48 p.m. to clarify Sunday there was a rally in L.A. organized by Feminist Front and Generation Ratify, and a march organized by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.