Thousand of fired-up abortion rights protesters, with some raising coat hangers above their heads, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in a massive Saturday rebuke of the Supreme Court’s reported plans to overturn Roe v. Wade
The crowd of all genders, ages and ethnicities assembled in Brooklyn’s courthouse plaza before heading across the Brooklyn Bridge into Lower Manhattan, waving signs and chanting along the way in support of a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
“Hands off our bodies!” the crowd shouted in response to the leaked draft opinion indicating the nation’s highest court would overturn the landmark decision. “We can’t go back!”
The marchers included Gilda Perkin, an 88-year-old Manhattan artist familiar with the history of this battle.
“I’ve been at this a long time, there’s no going back,” she said. “I’m passionate about this issue and I won’t stop. Women need to be strong and speak. We can’t expect anyone else to fight for us so we have to do it ourselves.”
Fellow marcher Victoria Micalizzi, 22, offered the same fervent support for the cause on a warm spring afternoon.
“This isn’t about abortion,” said the Bushwick, Brooklyn woman. “It’s about control and it’s disgusting that history is repeating itself again. We need to fight for abortion rights.”
Some marchers carried pro-rights signs while music played. Drummers pounded away outside the downtown Manhattan courthouses as demonstrators chanted, “We can’t go back.”
Barbara Yoshida, 77, of lower Manhattan, recalled her first arrest at a rally in the early 1990s where protesters shut down the Holland Tunnel on the Fourth of July.
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“This isn’t my first time at this fight,” she said. “I came here again because I still can’t believe I have to fight again … This fight can’t be lost, so we need to know our history, we need to fight, and we can’t be silent. We need to stand up and fight.”
The New York gathering was one of hundreds of “Bans Off Our Bodies” marches and rallies nationwide where protesters vented their outrage in the wake of reports the court’s conservative majority was poised to reverse the longstanding 1973 decision.
Thousands more gathered outside the Washington Monument before marching to the Supreme Court, where they were greeted by two layers of security fences.
“I can’t believe that at my age, I’m still having to protest over this,” said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government employee at the D.C. demonstration.
Brooklyn Heights resident Sabrina Gates, 45, said the federal government had no business imposing its will on America’s women.
“Lawmakers need to listen to their constituents, because 70% of Americans believe in accessibility to health care,” she said. “So we as people need to vote, and put people in place that actually have our best interests at heart.
“I’m very proud New York and the city are so progressive, even if we still have a lot of work to do,” Gates added. “We are going to fight, and we are going to have our voices heard.”