From the steps of the Supreme Court to the streets of New York City, reproductive rights activists protested a Texas law that went into effect last month.
Crowds gathered at Borough Hall in Queens, Brookville Park in Rosedale and Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn on Saturday to rally against the law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, without an exception for rape or incest.
“My entire time in Congress, we have never had a pro-choice majority, so usually we were on the defensive, fighting as they were chipping away at our rights,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at Borough Hall. “Make no mistake, they are not chipping away at abortion now. They are bulldozing our rights into the ground.”
Last month, the Supreme Court denied a request to make a ruling on the Texas abortion law, which also allows private citizens to turn in people taking part in now-illegal abortions, potentially earning a $10,000 reward.
The Supreme Court, which started a new term just two days after the nationwide rallies, will hear arguments later this year about the constitutionality of a Mississippi law which bans almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
About 92 percent of abortions in the U.S. take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By agreeing to hear the case, the land’s highest court could uphold or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that gave women the constitutional right to an abortion.
In Rosedale, South Queens Women’s March held its first reproductive justice rally at Brookville Park.
Aminta Kilawan-Narine, founder and director of the local organization, said there has never been a more critical time for people to show support for women’s rights.
“Last week, the House of Representatives took a step towards securing our reproductive freedom by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act,” said Kilawan-Narine. “But, we know the harsh truth. There is a difficult road ahead to pass the bill in the Senate and to protect our right to have an abortion.”
Zephyr Teachout, associate law professor at Fordham University, described the Texas abortion law as a “bounty hunter law” that deprives women of a core constitutional right. She cited Justice Sotomayor’s “blistering” dissent of the Supreme Court’s decision to not rule on the Texas law.
“The Court’s order is stunning,” Sotomayor wrote. “Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.”
1: Zephyr Teachout, left, with her midwife, Eugenia Montesinos at Borough Hall
2: A reproductive rights rally was held at Borough Hall over the weekend. was attended by dozens.