Abortion Rights Supporters Rally In San Diego To Protest States' Restrictive Bans
Around 300 people attended a rally Tuesday outside the federal courthouse in downtown San Diego as part of a nationwide #StoptheBans demonstration to oppose several conservative states’ recent restrictive abortion laws.
“Forward together, not one step back,” chanted the crowd, which included some women who dressed as characters from the novel and TV series, "A Handmaid's Tale," which is about a dystopian near-future society where women are treated as properties of the state.
A coalition of abortion rights organizations including Planned Parenthood, Indivisible San Diego and Women's March organized the event.
“We’re here today because women before us suffered and fought for the right to have a choice to control their own bodies,” said Wendy Batterson, an event organizer with San Diego Indivisible.
“Tell Trump what democracy looks like,” Batterson chanted into a podium microphone as she rallied the crowd. “This is what democracy looks like,” the crowd shouted back.
There were no visible anti-abortion protesters at the march. KPBS also contacted anti-abortion groups on Tuesday and did not receive a response.
Poppy Fitch with Women’s March San Diego called the new state laws a coordinated attack on women. She said abortion opponents were feeling emboldened by the Trump administration and the recently-appointed conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
“We are willing to band together,” Fitch said. “We have a power in numbers and ... men, women, all humans across the United States will stand up, fight and unite around this issue of reproductive rights.”
San Diego resident James Bond showed up to the rally to offer his support and voice his concerns over the new laws’ potential effect on poor communities.
“Poor people, people in rural areas, people without privilege and access that maybe don’t have some of the resources I have,” he said.
Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. Last week, Alabama passed a law that bans nearly all abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest, and Missouri passed a bill banning abortions at eight weeks.
President Trump sent a series of tweets over the weekend stating he is "strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother."
“We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new Federal Judges (many more to come), two great new Supreme Court justices … and a whole new and positive attitude about the right to life,” Trump wrote.