About 1,000 abortion-rights advocates gathered outside Philadelphia City Hall and in the courtyard of the Municipal Services Building Friday evening to protest the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
About 1,000 abortion-rights advocates gathered on JFK Boulevard outside Philadelphia City Hall and in the courtyard of the Municipal Services Building Friday evening to hear speakers from the Working Families Party, Philly Democratic Socialists of America, and other social justice organizations protest the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Many who attended said they were furious at the court for what they say is not just an affront to reproductive rights, but to human rights more broadly.
“Honestly, I just feel so distraught and hopeless. And I am frightened for my children and their friends,” said Chestnut Hill resident Courtney Malley, who attended the rally.
Malley said she was particularly angry that some justices voted to overturn Roe despite having said during their confirmation hearings that they viewed it as established law. And, she said, she worried about what Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion, which seems to open the door to challenging other established rights such as same-sex marriage, could mean for the future.
Still, she was encouraged by Friday’s turnout.
“The rally and the march was much bigger even than I had hoped, and the general mood was encouraging,” she said. “Yes, people were upset and angry. But even more, people seem determined to fight, and to restore our right to body autonomy.”
Malley is far from alone. Many others who marched on Friday also said they plan to become more involved in politics, and will work especially hard to increase voter turnout for politicians who support abortion access.
In Pennsylvania, abortion is currently legal until 24 weeks after a patient’s last menstrual period, and Gov. Tom Wolf has a history of vetoing Republican-led efforts to restrict abortion rights in a Republican-controlled legislature.
Doug Mastriano, who is running for governor on the Republican ticket, has vowed to ban abortion if he wins in November.
At a Friday morning press conference, abortion providers and advocates said they expect Pennsylvania will need to serve patients from other states where abortion bans are taking effect. They also said they worry there will be more threats of violence at abortion clinics.
Whyy.org contributed to this report.