Activists rally in D.C. in support of abortion rights


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Supporters and opponents of Roe v. Wade clashed in the U.S. Capitol at the “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally on Saturday, May 14.

Thousands of protestors gathered at the Washington Monument to march in support of the federal rights to abortion held by Roe v. Wade, whose future in America remains unclear.

People travelled from across the country to make their voice heard at the rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Lilliam Alfaro travelled from California to protest, instead of marching in San Francisco.

Lilliam Alfaro holds a protest sign at the “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally. Alfaro travelled to D.C. from California to march. (Shyler Johnson)

“I wanted to be here because this is where the court is,” Alfaro said. She also she was marching for her children, as well as minority women.

The “Bans Off Our Bodies” event at the Washington Monument featured speakers, music, signs and T-shirts with a common message: Don’t legislate women’s bodies.

While anti-abortion and abortion-rights activists share the common goal of protecting human rights, the two sides fundamentally disagree on what that looks like. Abortion-rights activists want to keep what Roe v. Wade guarantees: the right to choose to have an abortion or not.

Abortion-rights advocates support keeping abortion as an option for all women. Protestors from both sides met in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Shyler Johnson)

“If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one,” Alfaro said. “But you cannot put your beliefs on other women’s bodies.”

Those against Roe v. Wade say it’s not the mother’s choice to make. At the Supreme Court, anti-abortion advocates chanted, “Pro-choice, that’s a life. Babies never choose to die.”

Emotions ran high at the event as anti-abortion and abortion-rights advocates came head to head over reproductive rights in the United States.

A shouting match between an anti-abortion advocate with a “Jesus Saves” sign and an event worker drew crowds and security guards as the two sides tried to drown each other out. The two were eventually separated.

A couple with a sign that read “We will adopt your baby” spoke to the press and people who passed taunted the couple and jeered at their sign.

Numerous anti-abortion advocates are religious. Anti-abortion met abortion-rights advocates at the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday. (Shyler Johnson)

The tension between groups in D.C. reflected the polarized debate happening across the country. After a leaked Supreme Court brief indicated Roe v. Wade was in danger of being overturned, reproductive rights have come to the forefront of many political discussions, and neither side shows any indication of backing down.

After a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade failed in the Senate last week, the decision falls to the Supreme Court. Although justices do not serve a political party, the majority lean right.

Some activists said they thought there was room for conversation and education between the anti-abortion and abortion-rights sides. Others, like Alfaro, refused to budge, indicating the road to a compromise may be long and difficult.

“I see no compromise with those who would want to curtail women’s rights,” she said.

Anti-abortion and abortion-rights advocates clash over abortion rights in D.C. Abortion-rights activists attended a march to support Roe v. Wade on Saturday. (Shyler Johnson)
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