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Roe v Wade: More protests expected this weekend amid fury and anguish over the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling


The seismic ruling by the US Supreme Court to eliminate the federal constitutional right to an abortion has roiled the country, fueling protests that began Friday and which are expected to extend throughout the weekend.

Loud and angry demonstrations by abortion-rights advocates were held in several cities on Friday, hours after the court overturned the 1973 ruling known as Roe v. Wade. There were also smaller gatherings of people who welcomed the ruling.

More demonstrations are expected on Saturday and Sunday, according to abortion-rights advocates. They’re planned across cities big and small in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, in addition to Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and California, plus many others.

In Phoenix, law enforcement used tear gas late Friday to disperse a crowd of abortion-rights supporters after they “repeatedly pounded on the glass doors of the State Senate Building,” Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bart Graves told CNN.

As news of the ruling emerged Friday morning, abortion-rights advocates and opponents also gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

One man – standing amid placards including the messages “Roe is dead” and “I am the post-Roe generation” – sprayed champagne in the air above others who were celebrating.

In New York City, many demonstrators gathered in Washington Square Park to protest the ruling, even though New York state law will remain in place to protect abortion rights.

Julia Kaluta was one of the many abortion-rights advocates there.

“It’s like seeing the train coming toward you,” Kaluta, who received the news on her 24th birthday, told CNN. “And you finally get hit by it. And it still hurts more than you ever thought.”

There were some anti-abortion activists on hand, but they kept a low profile and there were no confrontations seen by the CNN crew walking with the protesters. At least 20 people in the city were “taken into custody with charges pending,” after demonstrators marched in protest of the decision, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Officers apprehended the individuals “within the vicinity of Bryant Park, West 42nd Street and 6th Avenue,” a NYPD spokesperson told CNN Saturday morning.

No further details were provided on the arrests.

Mia Khatcherian, who lives in New York, said she felt guilty knowing that abortion is legal in her home state, while those living in other states will be subjected to anti-abortion laws.

“I want women in other states to see the swell of support – that the sheer number (of demonstrators) sends a message,” said Khatcherian, 32, the daughter of a Filipina mother and Armenian father. “Knowing that women of color are going to bear the brunt of this decision” made sitting home, raging on social media, an impossibility, she added.

Black women accounted for the highest percentage of abortions by women seeking the procedure in the US in 2019, receiving 38.4% of all abortions performed, according to data collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also had the highest abortion rate, 23.8 abortions per 1,000 women, the data shows. Hispanic women sought 21% of all abortions in 2019, the data indicates.

Further, Black women who are pregnant or who have just given birth in the US are three to four times likelier to die than their White counterparts, per the CDC.

The abortion ban is already in effect in at least six states: Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

And as of Saturday, 13 states have trigger laws banning abortions in light of the ruling. Those states are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.

In some instances, the laws go into effect immediately, while in other states they will become effective after a certain time period or by certification of state officials.

Already, abortion providers in Arizona and Arkansas have begun halting abortion services.

Family Planning Associates, Planned Parenthood Arizona and Tucson Choices in Arizona have at least temporarily suspended abortion services while the legal ramifications of the ruling are assessed, according to posts on their websites.

Dr. DeShawn Taylor, who operates Desert Star Family Planning in Phoenix, said her clinic canceled about 20 abortion appointments that were initially scheduled for Friday through next week.

“We’re committed to keeping our doors open if we can, to be able to provide abortion care, once it’s safe to do so. I believe we’ll be in some dark times for a while, hopefully for not too long, but I do believe the pendulum will swing back.”

On Friday, the Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus issued a memo stating the state must immediately enforce the pre-Roe law, which bans most abortions unless the procedure is necessary to save the life of a mother.

In Arkansas, the Little Rock Planned Parenthood canceled between 60 and 100 appointments for people who had abortion procedures scheduled or were in the process of scheduling, Dr. Janet Cathey said told CNN.

“There were patients who said they were in their car and on their way and asked us, ‘It will be OK, won’t it?’ And we had to tell them, ‘No, we have to follow the law,” Cathey told CNN.

“Most patients were desperate or panicked,” she added.

Cathey said the patients were given contact information for the Planned Parenthood office in Overland Park, Kansas, adding that her office has “made arrangements for some to be transferred there.”

Little Rock is roughly a 7-hour drive from Overland Park. But for those patients in south Arkansas, the travel time is closer to 10 hours, Cathey said.

“We were seeing people from Louisiana and Texas who came to see us, too. Some called from Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. They’re going to be impacted as well,” she added.

In some states, local leaders have taken steps to protect as well as expand abortion rights, particularly in light of the potential influx of patients from states banning legal abortions.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Friday that protects against any potential civil action originating outside the state for anyone performing, assisting or receiving an abortion in the state. It also protects non-California residents seeking reproductive health care in the state.

In Mississippi – where the abortion ban is slated to take effect 10 days after its attorney general certifies the Supreme Court decision – the owner of the last abortion clinic in the state insisted on staying open during that period to provide services.

Diane Derzis, who runs the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, Mississippi, said she’s not giving up and that her doors are open.

“I will tell you that any patient who contacts us, we’ll see them. We’ll make sure we see them during that 10 days,” Derzis said Friday during a news conference. “A woman should not have to leave the state to obtain medical care.”

Derzis said her team is planning to open a new clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where they will continue to provide services.

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