Cyprus Mail

US activists rally one year after Supreme Court allowed abortion bans

file photo: abortion rights activists demonstrate outside the supreme court in washington
Abortion rights activists hold a candlelight vigil outside the United States Supreme Court in Washington

Abortion rights supporters and opponents will hold dueling rallies around the U.S. on Saturday, the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had legalized the procedure nationwide.

In Washington, speakers from national abortion rights groups including Women’s March and NARAL Pro-Choice America will assemble in Columbus Circle to celebrate the defeat of some abortion opponents in the 2022 midterm races and rally voters ahead of next year’s congressional and presidential elections.

Across town at the Lincoln Memorial, anti-abortion groups including Students for Life America are hosting a “National Celebrate Life Day Rally.” Former Vice President Mike Pence, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, will be among the speakers.

The June 24, 2022, Supreme Court ruling allowed U.S. states to ban abortion care for the first time in nearly 50 years. Conservative states have passed a flood of legislation to restrict the procedure, while other states have moved to protect abortion access.

Near-total abortion bans have taken effect in 14 states in the past year, even as opinion polls show that a majority of Americans want abortion legal in all or most cases.

The issue is expected to remain central in next year’s congressional and presidential races, with activists on both sides using the anniversary to mobilize their base to get more politically engaged.

Leading reproductive rights groups – EMILYs List, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund – on Friday announced their endorsements of Democratic President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for reelection in 2024.

On Saturday, Harris will give a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, in favor of national legislation to protect abortion rights, one week before a new Republican-backed law takes effect in the state and cuts the legal window for abortions from 20 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Democratic U.S. lawmakers proposed a measure on Thursday that would protect abortion patients and providers from criminalization nationwide, but its passage is unlikely given the deeply divided Congress.

On the other side of the fight, some abortion opponents are pushing for a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Pence, an outspoken abortion opponent, said at a Faith & Freedom Coalition gathering in Washington on Friday that “every Republican candidate for president should support a ban on abortion before 15 weeks as a minimum nationwide standard.”

Several of his rivals, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have voiced support for abortion restrictions, without making specific pledges. DeSantis signed a law in Florida this year banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

About 64% of respondents in a Reuters/Ipsos poll in May said they were less likely to support a presidential candidate who backed laws severely restricting abortion, while 36% said they were more likely to back such a candidate.

Rallies, marches and concerts in favor of reproductive rights are also scheduled for Saturday in states from Florida to Oregon.

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