Joining demonstrators across the country, thousands of women’s rights activists are expected to march in downtown Los Angeles and elsewhere around the state Saturday as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
The L.A. rally organized by the Women’s March Foundation started at 10 a.m. and will feature appearances from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Alex Padilla, Reps. Karen Bass and Maxine Waters.
The rally is one of hundreds scheduled to take place across the country, including in Long Beach, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Palos Verdes and Santa Ana, as well as in San Francisco, San Diego, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Austin, Texas.
Donna Troy Wangler was among the few women gathered at the L.A. City Hall rally who wasn’t toting a sign proclaiming her views. But the Inland Empire high school teacher had poignant story to share about her daughter Lauren, who was born with Down’s syndrome and was six years old when she died.
“Some people seem to think it’s a snap for moms like to have an abortion,’ Wangler said “I decided to keep my child—and that was a traumatic load to carry. But gosh, the love we shared changed my life forever.”
Holding up her cell phone, she gushed, “Here’s a photo of Lauren — Look how proud of herself she is!” “So, I’m here today,” added Wangler, 53, “ because I want the world to know that abortion is a woman’s choice. No one else’s.”
Teisha Kimmons, who traveled 80 miles to attend the Chicago rally, said she fears for women in states that are ready to ban abortion. She said she might not be alive today if she had not had a legal abortion when she was 15.
“I was already starting to self harm and I would have rather died than have a baby,” said Kimmons, a massage therapist from Rockford, Illinois.
The upcoming high court ruling in a case from Mississippi stands to energize voters, potentially shaping the upcoming midterm elections.
Kimmons, 46, said she believes the focus needs to be on those races. “We have to vote in pro-choice politicians because women’s lives depend on it,” she said.
The demonstrations come after Politico reported May 2 that a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated a majority of the court would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, reversing its recognition of women’s constitutional right to access safe and legal abortions.
The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, could issue a final opinion in late June or early July.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.