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Reproductive RIghts Supporters Rally Across The Country

A large crowd of supporters of abortion rights gathers on the Mall in Washington D.C.  Several are holding signs that read Bans Off Our Bodies. A woman in the foreground wearing a black t-shirt with white letters that says Abortion is Healthcare holds a placard aloft that reads No Person Is Free Without Autonomy. The Washington Monument is seen in the background
Activists take part in the The Bans Off Our Bodies march for abortion access, at the Washington Monument in Washington, DC on May 14, 2022.
(Mandel Ngan
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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Thousands of reproductive rights supporters are gathering Saturday at rallies across the country following this month's leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

In Southern California

The draft opinion has sparked a wave of protests. More than 100 Bans off Our Bodies rallies are set to take place Saturday across the United States, from Hawaii, to California to Oklahoma to Washington, D.C.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, at least 26 states are "certain or likely" to ban abortions, according to data from Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. That could affect 36 million women, in addition to more people who can become pregnant, Planned Parenthood says.

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In Washington, activists have been rallying at the Supreme Court steps since the night the draft opinion was leaked. As many as 17,000 people are expected on the National Mall for the Bans off Our Bodies demonstration, NBC4 Washington reported.

Ann Hoffman, 79, was among those on the National Mall on Saturday. She tells NPR she has been involved in establishing the right to an abortion since the 1970s. In Hoffman's eyes, marching might not make a difference to the Supreme Court, but it can show "that people really care."

"It's only the most important issue there is right now because if the leaked opinion becomes the final opinion," she said, "it could affect all kinds of rights — not just the right of choice but the right to health care."

Anna Lulis, a 24-year-old from Virginia, was also in the crowd. She works with Students for Life of America and was part of a small group of counterprotesters who hope Roe v. Wade is overturned.

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"We wanted to make sure people knew that there was a presence out here that wasn't pro-abortion," Lulis told NPR. "The pro-life side, we wanted to show the Supreme Court justices that we're here and we support them and we hope that they make the right decision."

Meanwhile in Chicago, hundreds of protesters gathered in a park west of the city's downtown. Women who say they have had abortions, along with an abortion doctor, spoke at the demonstration. Many at the rally say they want abortions to remain safe and accessible.

Rachel O'Leary Carmona, executive director of Women's March, said the demonstrations can help build "community power."

"Our role is to try to make our voices heard," she told NPR.

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