‘Scary Time to be a Woman’: Demonstrators at Supreme Court (photos)

A large gathering of pro-choice activists descended upon the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., from dawn to dusk on Tuesday, May 3, following a prior day’s leaked memo revealing that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court appears ready to overturn the nearly half century-long constitutional right to an abortion. A much smaller but no less vocal group of anti-abortion demonstrators, chanted, sang and prayed nearby in a separate area cordoned off by police. Simultaneous demonstrations erupted around the country.

 “We’re well-practiced in protest,” said Nicola Lessig of D.C. “This is not the first time we’ve had to wake up in the morning and come to the Supreme Court. I’m from Texas. I have been protesting for the right to control my body and for the right to make personal medical decisions my entire life. My mother has been fighting for that right for her entire life. Her mother has been fighting for that right her entire life. We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to be here, and we’re going to make our voices heard. And it’s sad that we have to be, but we’re not going anywhere.”

John from Cork Ireland was shaking his head as he spoke. His native country in 2018 by a two-thirds majority had repealed a constitutional amendment which had guaranteed the right to life of the unborn, making abortion illegal unless the pregnancy was life-threatening. The 2018 referendum led directly to legislation legalizing abortion in Ireland. At the time, it was hailed as an extraordinary victory for women’s rights that sealed the country’s transformation from a bastion of religious conservatism to one of Europe’s most tolerant democracies.  He added: “We are moving forward, and [here] it just feels like it’s just the exact opposite of where we were in Ireland… where we had a referendum where we got rid of abortion. And it feels this is just the opposite. Where there, we let go of the shackles of the church, the shackles of the past. I’m angry. Yeah, I know, this isn’t my country. I do feel the opposite from what I felt that day in Ireland because people here deserve the exact same thing we have there. And so, yeah, I’m angry about it.”

George Washington University student Emma Hearns, 18, took a break from studies to voice her concerns. Hearns fears a slippery slope if Roe v. Wade (1973)  is overturned: “First it’s abortions and then it’s Plan B, [they] already try to classify Plan B as an abortion. And then it’s birth control and then it’s gay marriage… I think it’s a really, really scary time to be a woman.” And in a reference to the dystopian misogynist theocracy of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ she added, “Welcome to Gilead.”

View a slideshow of Jeff Malet’s photos from the rallies in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 3 by clicking on the photo icons below.











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