Thousands gather in marches for abortion rights

“Without abortion, I wouldn’t be here,” said Rains, who was standing in the plaza with her 5-month-old daughter, Hendrix, and 3-year-old son, Jagger. Five months into his pregnancy in November 2020, he said, he began losing large amounts of blood, forcing his medical providers to perform an abortion to save his life.

“I loved my daughter very much,” he said, “but she was bleeding and there was nothing they could do.”

For some, protesting the draft opinion was not just about protecting abortion rights.

Lillian Penafiel, 35, and her wife, Emi Penafiel, 44, were worried about what the court’s ruling could mean for marriage equality, LGBTQ rights and voting rights.

“They have been very clear, especially what was written, that our rights are also going to be threatened, that’s why we are nervous,” said Emi Peñafiel. “They come for all of that.”

Many parents came with their children. Sonia Reiter, 41, who is pregnant, brought her 5-year-old son, Casio Coleman, to the march to educate him about the importance of choice, she said.

“Casio, how did we talk about today’s protest, what did we say?” Mrs. Reiter asked her son. “If someone wants to be pregnant, they should be pregnant, what if they don’t want to be pregnant?”

“They shouldn’t,” he answered, smiling at his mother.

In Los Angeles, protesters filled Grand Park in front of City Hall, chanting phrases like “We won’t back down, we won’t back down!” An estimated 5,000 people attended.

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