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Abortion rights backers rally in anger over post-Roe future

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Abortion rights activists protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop in Chicago, after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women's Health Protection...
FILE - Anti-scaling fencing blocks off the Supreme Court, May 10, 2022, in Washington. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the face of a...
Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...
Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...
Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the day. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...
A man jogs past the the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Morning fog begins to lift around the US Capitol in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...
Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...
Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...
A man ride a scooter outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Protesters hold up signs during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast ...
Protestors hold up signs during a rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of Ne...
Protesters rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Demonstrators a...
Protestors rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Demonstrators a...
Protestors rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Demonstrators a...
FILE - Abortion-rights advocates, right, try to block anti-abortion signage during a rally at the state capitol in Lansing, Mich., May 2, 2022, in sup...
Protesters rally during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the f...
Protesters rally during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the f...
Abortion rights demonstrators rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington, during protests across the country. (AP Photo/Amanda ...
Abortion rights demonstrators rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington.  Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in th...
Abortion rights demonstrators rally at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday May 14, 2022.  Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the ...
Abortion rights demonstrators rally at Union Park in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022.  Demonstrators are rallying fro...
Abortion rights demonstrators rally in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022.  Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coa...
Lena waves a flag during Rally for Abortion Justice during a protest at Union Park in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022...
Abortion rights advocate Rinda West raises her fist during a protest at Union Park in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022...
Maryam and Riley Brotine sit on the grass while holding a Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a protest Saturday morning, May 14, 2022.  Demonstrators are rall...
New York Attorney General Letitia James, front row third from right, marches with protestors across the Brooklyn Bridge during an abortion rights demo...
Protestors begin crossing the Brooklyn Bridge during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying...
A protestor holds up a sign of former Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Ne...
Capitol police officers on bicycles clear abortion rights demonstrators off the street, Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washingto...
Anti-abortion demonstrators rally, across the street from pro-abortion rights demonstrators, Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Wash...
Capitol police officers on bicycles clear abortion demonstrators off the street, Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington, ahea...
"My Body My Choice" is written in marker on Ada Sadlier's thighs Saturday, May 14, 2022, as part of the nationwide Bans Off Our Bodies Rally in Browns...
A woman attends an abortion-rights rally at the Utah State Capitol Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Salt Lake City. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to...
Abortion rights demonstrators attend a rally at the Texas Capitol, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Austin, Texas.  Demonstrators are rallying from coast to...
An abortion rights demonstrator holds a sign during a rally at the Texas Capitol, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Austin, Texas.  Demonstrators are rallyin...
Michelle Vancil-Osborne rallies for abortion rights at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas, on Saturday May 14, 2022.  Demonstrators are rallying from coast...
People rally for abortion rights at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas, on Saturday May 14, 2022.  Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the fa...
People attend an abortion-rights rally at the Utah State Capitol Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Salt Lake City. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to c...
An attendee at Planned Parenthood's Bans Off Our Bodies rally for abortion rights holds a sign reading "Idaho the women as property state" outside of ...
Demonstrators attend an abortion rights protest Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati.  Demonstrators are rallying from coa...
Protesters cross the Brooklyn Bridge during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coa...
An abortion rights march extends down the streets during a demonstration from the National Mall to the Supreme Court of the United States in Washingto...
Abortion rights demonstrators rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington.  Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in th...
Jacqueline Von Edelbe holds a sign with other abortion rights demonstrators Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Chicago. Demonstrators are rallying from coast ...
People hold signs and cheer during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrators are rallying from coast ...
A person holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Our Rights" during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrat...
U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., speaks during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrators are rallyin...
A person holds a coat hanger and sign during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrators are rallying f...
Abortion rights demonstrators raise their fists and signs during a rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington.  Demonstrators a...
Women lead a march for abortion rights in San Francisco on Saturday, May 14, 2022.   Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the face of an ...
Abortion-rights demonstrators hold up letters spelling out "My Choice," Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Jac...
Abortion-rights demonstrators carry signs during a march on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coa...
Anti-abortion demonstrators counterprotest during a rally of abortion-rights supporters at Los Angeles City Hall, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Da...
Abortion-rights demonstrators coming from the Washington Monument march past the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacque...
Anti-abortion demonstrators hold signs outside Manhattan federal court during an abortion-rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. (...
EDS NOTE: OBSCENITY - An abortion-rights demonstrator, left, argues with a man, at right, who holds anti-abortion views outside the Supreme Court in W...
Abortion-rights demonstrators hold up letters spelling out "My Choice," Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Jac...
Protesters carry images of Supreme Court Justices on sticks as they take part in a march in favor of abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in downt...

Abortion rights activists protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop in Chicago, after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women's Health Protection...

FILE - Anti-scaling fencing blocks off the Supreme Court, May 10, 2022, in Washington. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the face of a...

Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...

Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...

Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the day. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...

A man jogs past the the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Morning fog begins to lift around the US Capitol in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...

Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...

Security fencing is in place outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022, ahead of expected abortion right rallies later in the da...

A man ride a scooter outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Protesters hold up signs during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast ...

Protestors hold up signs during a rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of Ne...

Protesters rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Demonstrators a...

Protestors rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Demonstrators a...

Protestors rally in Cadman Plaza during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Demonstrators a...

FILE - Abortion-rights advocates, right, try to block anti-abortion signage during a rally at the state capitol in Lansing, Mich., May 2, 2022, in sup...

Protesters rally during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the f...

Protesters rally during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the f...

Abortion rights demonstrators rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington, during protests across the country. (AP Photo/Amanda ...

Abortion rights demonstrators rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in th...

Abortion rights demonstrators rally at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the ...

Abortion rights demonstrators rally at Union Park in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rallying fro...

Abortion rights demonstrators rally in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coa...

Lena waves a flag during Rally for Abortion Justice during a protest at Union Park in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022...

Abortion rights advocate Rinda West raises her fist during a protest at Union Park in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday morning, May 14, 2022...

Maryam and Riley Brotine sit on the grass while holding a Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a protest Saturday morning, May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rall...

New York Attorney General Letitia James, front row third from right, marches with protestors across the Brooklyn Bridge during an abortion rights demo...

Protestors begin crossing the Brooklyn Bridge during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying...

A protestor holds up a sign of former Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Ne...

Capitol police officers on bicycles clear abortion rights demonstrators off the street, Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washingto...

Anti-abortion demonstrators rally, across the street from pro-abortion rights demonstrators, Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Wash...

Capitol police officers on bicycles clear abortion demonstrators off the street, Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington, ahea...

"My Body My Choice" is written in marker on Ada Sadlier's thighs Saturday, May 14, 2022, as part of the nationwide Bans Off Our Bodies Rally in Browns...

A woman attends an abortion-rights rally at the Utah State Capitol Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Salt Lake City. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to...

Abortion rights demonstrators attend a rally at the Texas Capitol, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Austin, Texas. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to...

An abortion rights demonstrator holds a sign during a rally at the Texas Capitol, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Austin, Texas. Demonstrators are rallyin...

Michelle Vancil-Osborne rallies for abortion rights at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas, on Saturday May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rallying from coast...

People rally for abortion rights at the Capitol, in Austin, Texas, on Saturday May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the fa...

People attend an abortion-rights rally at the Utah State Capitol Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Salt Lake City. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to c...

An attendee at Planned Parenthood's Bans Off Our Bodies rally for abortion rights holds a sign reading "Idaho the women as property state" outside of ...

Demonstrators attend an abortion rights protest Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. Demonstrators are rallying from coa...

Protesters cross the Brooklyn Bridge during an abortion rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. Demonstrators are rallying from coa...

An abortion rights march extends down the streets during a demonstration from the National Mall to the Supreme Court of the United States in Washingto...

Abortion rights demonstrators rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in th...

Jacqueline Von Edelbe holds a sign with other abortion rights demonstrators Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Chicago. Demonstrators are rallying from coast ...

People hold signs and cheer during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrators are rallying from coast ...

A person holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Our Rights" during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrat...

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., speaks during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrators are rallyin...

A person holds a coat hanger and sign during a protest and rally for abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Seattle. Demonstrators are rallying f...

Abortion rights demonstrators raise their fists and signs during a rally, Saturday, May 14, 2022, on the National Mall in Washington. Demonstrators a...

Women lead a march for abortion rights in San Francisco on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the face of an ...

Abortion-rights demonstrators hold up letters spelling out "My Choice," Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Jac...

Abortion-rights demonstrators carry signs during a march on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coa...

Anti-abortion demonstrators counterprotest during a rally of abortion-rights supporters at Los Angeles City Hall, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Da...

Abortion-rights demonstrators coming from the Washington Monument march past the Supreme Court in Washington, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacque...

Anti-abortion demonstrators hold signs outside Manhattan federal court during an abortion-rights demonstration, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in New York. (...

EDS NOTE: OBSCENITY - An abortion-rights demonstrator, left, argues with a man, at right, who holds anti-abortion views outside the Supreme Court in W...

Abortion-rights demonstrators hold up letters spelling out "My Choice," Saturday, May 14, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Jac...

Protesters carry images of Supreme Court Justices on sticks as they take part in a march in favor of abortion rights, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in downt...

WASHINGTON (AP) — Abortion rights supporters demonstrating at hundreds of marches and rallies Saturday expressed their outrage that the Supreme Court appears prepared to scrap the constitutional right to abortion that has endured for nearly a half-century and their fear about what that could mean for women’s reproductive choices.

Incensed after a leaked draft opinion suggested the court's conservative majority would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, activists spoke of the need to mobilize quickly because Republican-led states are poised to enact tighter restrictions.

In the nation’s capital, thousands gathered in drizzly weather at the Washington Monument to listen to fiery speeches before marching to the Supreme Court, which was surrounded by two layers of security fences.

The mood was one of anger and defiance, three days after the Senate failed to muster enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade.

“I can’t believe that at my age, I’m still having to protest over this,” said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government employee who is preparing for a state-by-state battle over abortion rights.

Caitlin Loehr, 34, of Washington, wore a black T-shirt with an image of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “dissent” collar on it and a necklace that spelled out “vote.”

“I think that women should have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and their lives. And I don’t think banning abortion will stop abortion. It just makes it unsafe and can cost a woman her life,” Loehr said.

A half-dozen anti-abortion demonstrators sent out a countering message, with Jonathan Darnel shouting into a microphone, “Abortion is not health care, folks, because pregnancy is not an illness.”

From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands participated in events, where chants of “Bans off our bodies!” and “My body, my choice!” rang out. The gatherings were largely peaceful, but in some cities there were tense confrontations between people on opposing sides of the issue.

Polls show that most Americans want to preserve access to abortion — at least in the earlier stages of pregnancy — but the Supreme Court appeared to be poised to let the states have the final say. If that happens, roughly half of states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are expected to quickly ban abortion.

The battle was personal for some who came out Saturday. In Seattle, some protesters carried photographic images of conservative justices' heads on sticks.

Teisha Kimmons, who traveled 80 miles to attend the Chicago rally, said she fears for women in states that are ready to ban abortion. She said she might not be alive today if she had not had a legal abortion when she was 15.

“I was already starting to self harm and I would have rather died than have a baby,” said Kimmons, a massage therapist from Rockford, Illinois.

At that rally, speaker after speaker said that if abortion is banned that the rights of immigrants, minorities and others will also be “gutted,” as Amy Eshleman, wife of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot put it.

“This has never been just about abortion. It’s about control,” Eshleman told the crowd of thousands. “My marriage is on the menu and we cannot and will not let that happen."

In New York, thousands of people gathered in Brooklyn’s courthouse plaza before a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan for another rally.

“We’re here for the women who can’t be here, and for the girls who are too young to know what is ahead for them,” Angela Hamlet, 60, of Manhattan, said to the backdrop of booming music.

Robin Seidon, who traveled from Montclair, New Jersey, for the rally, said the nation was at a place abortion rights supporters have long feared.

“They’ve been nibbling at the edges, and it was always a matter of time before they thought they had enough power on the Supreme Court, which they have now," said Seidon, 65.

The upcoming high court ruling in a case from Mississippi stands to energize voters, potentially shaping the upcoming midterm elections.

In Texas, which has a strict law banning many abortions, the challenger to one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress marched in San Antonio.

Jessica Cisneros joined demonstrators just days before early voting begins in her primary runoff against U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, which could be one of the first tests over whether the court leak will galvanize voters.

In Chicago, Kjirsten Nyquist, a nurse toting daughters ages 1 and 3, agreed about the need to vote. “As much as federal elections, voting in every small election matters just as much,” she said.

At many of the rallies, speakers put the issue in stark terms, saying people will die if abortions are outlawed.

In Los Angeles, high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred recounted how she could not get a legal abortion after being raped at gunpoint in the 1960s. She said she ended up having life-threatening bleeding after a “back alley” abortion.

“I want you to vote as though your lives depend on it, because they do,” she told the crowd.

___

Sharp reported from Portland, Maine. Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago, David Porter in New York, Paul Weber in San Antonio, and Jacquelyn Martin, Gary Fields and Anna Johnson in Washington contributed to this report.