It took less than 24 hours to mobilize the city after Politico’s Monday night bombshell, which outlined a draft written by Justice Samuel Alito that said the landmark 1973 decision protecting abortion rights, along with a 1992 decision known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey that reinforced those rights, "must be overruled." A lineup of city and state lawmakers, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, delivered passionate remarks largely focusing on mobilizing voters ahead of the 2022 midterms and vowing to fight against any decision that strips away abortion rights.
“I will not allow Justice Alito, or any other justice on the Supreme Court, to dictate to me or you how to use your body,” said James, who added that she, herself, had an abortion when she joined the City Council decades ago. “Your future is not in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. It’s in your hands.”
The attorney general added that she was working to establish a dedicated fund that would help provide financial resources to women outside of the state who are seeking a safe abortion.
“We, here in New York, must set up a fund to ensure that any woman, anywhere in the country, can look to New York as a safe haven that will allow them to make the reproductive health care decisions that are best for them,” James said in a statement. “This won’t make things right, but it will give women nationwide one way to rest easy.”
Many of those in attendance at Foley Square wore green in solidarity with the “green wave” pro-choice movement in Latin America. Chants of “my body, my choice” and “hey hey, ho ho, the patriarchy’s got to go” echoed throughout the area. There was singing, chanting, and one group even urged people to join them in screaming to vent their anger.
Demonstrator Aranzazu Jorquiera, a student at Columbia University, said she was there out of concern that the high court might target other rights if Roe v. Wade gets struck down.
“It doesn’t seem like the Supreme Court’s going to stop at Roe v. Wade. It’s definitely going to come back for more of our rights,” she said. “Marriage equality, civil rights, trans rights, most certainly. So, definitely worried.”
Park Slope resident Meredith Gary was there with her 15-year-old-daughter, Audrey Wood, and said she had gone to pro-choice marches like that one with her mother back in the ‘80s.
“I just can’t believe that this many decades later, the fact that Roe is being questioned as a precedent is just shocking,” she said.
Dinetta Gilmore of Bed-Stuy was handing out buttons that read, “Bans off my uterus.” She said the repercussions of overturning Roe v. Wade would disproportionally impact the most vulnerable, and that was what brought her out to Foley Square.
“Rich white women will always be able to get a safe abortion,” she said. “It’s going to fall to the poor and the middle class. The Brown and the Black women that are going to suffer. Low-income white women are going to suffer. And it’s not right.”
A similar protest was scheduled for later Tuesday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but organizers said they called it off before the event to divert all resources to the Foley Square event. Nevertheless, several hundreds of demonstrators arrived there Tuesday night to rally, chanting "uphold Roe v. Wade, we gotta uphold Roe v. Wade,” and “abortion, is healthcare."
“I never thought this would happen, I never thought that we would have to do this all over again, you know, come out in the streets and fight for our rights,” said Marcia Scarnato, at Barclays Center. “I feel scared, I feel angry, and I’m really afraid.”
The Politico report, which Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed as authentic on Tuesday, said the court's overturning of federal abortion rights would leave it up to individual states to determine whether or not to allow them. The final ruling, however, will not be made public until it is published sometime in the next few months, and may still be subject to change, the report said.