Supreme Court’s abortion decision wakes distracted electorate

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn 1973’s landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade, people have taken to the streets in protest across the US.

Abortion rights advocates across the country denounced the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, which strips away the federal constitutional guarantee to a right to privacy that protects a woman’s prerogative to choose an abortion if she wants to end a pregnancy.

The news was not a surprise, as a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion foreshadowed the decision but the landmark conservative Supreme Court rulings last week on abortion and guns capped a year-long string of extreme right-wing victories.

Americans in all 50 states and from all walks of life turned out protesting against the right-wing action to roll back social justice and political progress. Most rallies were peaceful but some incidents of disorder were reported, including one in which a Democratic politician was punched by a Republican opponent.

An abortion-rights protester at a rally in South Orange on Friday, June 24, 2022

As tensions escalated among protesters and counterprotesters, Jennifer Rourke—a Democrat who is running for a state Senate seat in Rhode Island—was apparently punched by off-duty Providence Police Officer Jeann Lugo, the Republican who has dropped out of the race following the incident and is now under investigation.

“The Supreme Court decimated nearly 50 years’ worth of progress and for the first time in generations stripped us of our rights, freedoms, and control over our bodies,” said Rahna Epting, the executive director of MoveOn, a grassroots progressive organization that helped organize many of the demonstrations along with Women’s March, Planned Parenthood and other abortion-rights groups.

“It is an outrageous and dangerous ruling which proves this court is nothing more than an arm of the Republican Party,” said Epting. “Let’s be clear: Six justices did not overturn Roe; the entire Republican Party did. It makes the extremism of the modern-day Republican Party bare for all to see.”

“We are the majority and Republicans packed the courts to accomplish through the courts what voters have repeatedly rejected at the ballot box,” said Epting. “We will hold every Republican accountable for overturning Roe and further eviscerating abortion access. We have one message today for every Republican who has pushed these draconian policies for years and who attempts to put abortion bans into effect in the states: we’ll see you at the ballot box.”

A series of ongoing protests supporting abortion rights and right-wing counter-protests began on May 2, 2022, following the leak of a draft majority opinion for the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which sought to overturn legal precedents that guaranteed women a right to choose an abortion.

On June 24, 2022, when the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, organizations launched new protests outside of the Supreme Court building and across the country. By noon, there was a major police presence around the Supreme Court building and the Capitol building, including police with riot gear, and police squad cars and SUVs. Multiple streets were barricaded by police.

Reproductive health care, including access to birth control and safe and legal abortion care, is an essential part of your health and well-being. While Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion remains legal in many states, and other reproductive health care services remain protected by law.

New Jersey preserved the legal right for women and girls to get an abortion in a bill the governor and Democratic-controlled Legislature enacted into law earlier this year.

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