Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Los Angeles Friday hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that made abortion a constitutional right.
The steps of Pershing Square, backdropped by a large banner demanding “legal abortion once and for all,” was one of the many locations people flocked to around the city, holding homemade signs and coat hangers. This particular event — a rally followed by a march to City Hall — was organized by the L.A. branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in conjunction with other leftist organizations.
Before the march began, a series of speakers addressed the crowd, ranging from stories about their own experiences with abortion to calling out the Democratic Party for its inaction.
Around 6 p.m., the last speaker was finishing her speech. “When our rights are under attack, what do we do?” she asked the crowd.
“Stand up fight back!”
“They say no choice—”
“We say pro-choice!”
“Are we ready to take the streets?”
Cheering loudly, accompanied by the beat of a drum someone had brought, the protesters began their 0.7-mile march to the L.A. City Hall.
Among them was Belen Barboza, a veteran of pro-abortion protests across the world, including in New York and Berlin.
“I’m here for every single person that can have a pregnancy. I want to help people understand that this is not life versus no life, it really is about control,” Barboza said. “It comes down to autonomy. Every single thing comes down [to] your right to say yes or no to your own actions, to your own bodies.”
A couple of feet away, Tiffany Segovia marched with her friend, holding matching signs that said “my body is not your property.”
“I felt panicked because I am a young woman. If I’m ever caught in a position where I’m not able to have that choice, that would be terrifying. I’m sad for people living in states where that is the reality,” Segovia said. “People just need to mind their own business and think about how they would feel if this was happening to them or their sister or their daughter.”
For Geri Wilson, the Supreme Court’s decision is a new battle in a 50-year fight, one that started with the original Roe v. Wade protests in the 70s.
“I remember the first time I did this and I never thought that for my two daughters, two grandchildren, I have to do this again,” she said.
Wilson also remembered her own experience with abortion.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I know nobody goes and say, ‘let’s have an abortion today.’ There are all kinds of reasons women choose to do this, and it’s a difficult thing to do,” Wilson said. “I’m absolutely infuriated that after so many women have not died because they had an abortion, now they want us to go back to coat hangers.”
Standing near the back of the protest, passing out newspapers published by the Socialist Alternative, was Lindsay Giebel. She had spoken earlier in the rally, calling for “clearly defined political goals, democratic structures and a complete independence for the democratic party.”
“Democrats have had 50 years to codify abortion rights into law, but they haven’t done it because it’s not in their interest to protect the rights of working people,” Giebel said. “It’s time to leave the Democrats out of the equation and build a mass working class socialist feminist movement to defend our rights.”
As one of the organizers of this event, she felt “excited” about the turnout, more than double the amount of protesters who showed up when a draft of the decision was first leaked in May.
“It’s insane that we’re trying to make [abortion] impossible because it’s going to happen anyway,” Giebel said. “It’s going to be more and more dangerous and less and less accessible to poor and working class women, so we’re here fighting for all of them.”