'Ban off our bodies' rallies set to take place nationwide after SCOTUS leak

On May 14, 2022, hundreds of thousands of advocates for reproductive rights are set to take to the streets in protest of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Video transcript

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ALL: Roe cannot go. Keep abortion legal. Their body, their choice. My body, my choice. Their body, their choice. My body, my choice.

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RACHEL O'LEARY CARMONA: We find that our worst fears have, in fact, come true.

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This is a full spectrum of attacks on democracy. And it's being waged on women's bodies. And it's being waged on trans folks bodies and attacks on voting rights. This should matter to everyone. There's a lot of people who have been out in the streets protesting about abortion, but what this is striking at is our fundamental right to privacy. Our fundamental right to bodily autonomy. And when the GOP gets in power, what it does is it inserts itself into our homes, into our communities, into our bedrooms, and into our bodies themselves to begin to legislate what we can and can't do. And not in service of a higher political belief or a religious belief, but in service of the continued power of a small group of people who can't win the fair way.

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We've been making sure to take it to the streets and to demonstrate that there is public outcry and that this is not the will of the people. This is not a Democratic process. And to make sure to engage the folks. There are a lot of us who are very loud. Women's March is excellent at raising our voices. But there are a lot of people for whom going out into the streets and protesting is not their cup of tea. However, they are still a part of the majority, the 80% of people who do not want to see Roe v Wade overturned. Who do not want to see the government legislating who you can love, when and how you can have a family, or impeding your ability to take care of it once you choose to do so.

So I think that when we get past the barriers that the GOP has put to the people executing their will, whether that's at the voting box, whether that's in the streets, whether that's in town halls or school boards or what have you, organizations like ours can take a breath. And until then, we will be building power electorally, civically, in communities all across the country and in every way possible.

80% of the people that come to any one Women's March are new. And we help to find them a place to make the change they want to see in the world. And so we work to expand and deepen the movement. And we're going to continue to play that role in addition to being involved with specific election races, in addition to working issues around abortion and reproductive health rights and justice. And then certainly working on our own convenings that we will have in order to bring together into the base around a direction moving forward so that we can all be kind of walking down the same road towards our feminist future.

- My body.

- My choice.

RACHEL O'LEARY CARMONA: The four anchor organizations for the rallies are, of course, Women's March and Planned Parenthood. Ultraviolet, which is a gender justice group. And Move On, which is a group that is broadly focused on progressive activism in democracy building. So we are convening a large coalition of hundreds of organizations to gather across the country. And we have calls to action around federal legislation, around bolstering in flaking states. More than anything, we are really looking to support the leadership of local leaders in states and particularly those who are involved in servicing clients and providing abortions to folks who are needing them.

And so what we want to do is to make sure to raise consciousness and get political consolidation around these demands that we have. Around passing [INAUDIBLE], around federal legislation, around statewide fights. But we also want to consolidate a base of folks around the folks who are doing the work. And making sure that we center the folks who are most impacted, which are the people in states who will have their rights to access abortion and health care stripped away when this farcical decision becomes finalized and is announced. And that mainly is folks who are people of color and poor and are already among the most marginalized.

The act of galvanizing a base and consolidating a base is critical. I think one of the enduring legacies of the Trump administration is just a lack of faith in institutions and a lack of faith that our government can get it done. And one of the things that organizations can help do is provide a political home, and a place for folks to get involved and actually make a difference. And so what we want to do is have this be a moment and the moment that we believe it is, is the time when the GOP overplayed its hand and accidentally found a way to mobilize a base that costs it politically and in the court of public opinion as well.

We believe that's the moment that we're in right now. And we intend to move inside of that and meet that and have the health care that we need. And the reality is that whether abortions are legal or illegal, the data is clear. It does not change the amount of abortions that are happening. But what it does is it makes abortions less safe.

Abortion, like having abortions legalized saves lives. Period. Full stop. The end. And so that is why abortion is so critical to be a tent pole issue and a specific concern as we consider these broader attacks on a democracy. That we need to understand that abortion is one of the galvanizing issues that will show up not just at the polls, but across our entire political spectrum. We're in the belly of the beast and we're here for the fight. And we're not having trouble mobilizing anywhere. And that will be the case for this summer. And you'll continue to hear more and more on the mobilization front as this goes, because this is just the beginning.

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