Protesters chanted slogans, carried posters and occupied streets in cities across the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion.
In New York City, at least ten thousand protesters crowded into Washington Square Park to protest the ban and in Los Angeles, demonstrators blocked traffic and marched on a freeway, some carrying a giant green banner that read “Post-Roe, hell no.”
Similar demonstrations were seen in Boston and Seattle.
The Supreme Court’s decision could dramatically change life for millions of women in America and exacerbate growing tensions in a deeply polarized country.
The court, in a 6-3 ruling powered by its conservative majority, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5-4 to overturn Roe, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts writing separately to say he would have upheld the Mississippi law without taking the additional step of erasing the Roe precedent altogether.
The reverberations of the ruling will be felt far beyond the court’s high-security confines – potentially reshaping the battlefield in November’s elections to determine whether Biden’s fellow Democrats retain control of Congress and signalling a new openness by the justices to change other long-recognized rights.
The decision will also intensify debate over the legitimacy of the court, once an unassailable cornerstone of the American democratic system but increasingly under scrutiny for its more aggressively conservative decisions on a range of issues.