New Yorkers gathered together in droves on Friday night to protest the US Supreme Court decision to strike down the landmark constitutional protection that had allowed women the rights to abortion for the last 50 years.
After news broke about the ruling on Friday morning, organizers like NYC for Abortion Rights and Planned Parenthood planned for rallies in iconic Manhattan locales like Washington Square Park and Union Square respectively.
In Washington Square Park, the Washington Arch seemed small amongst the throngs of people chanting, “we will rise up” and clutching signs touting phrases such as, “my body, my choice” and “overturn Roe? Hell no!”
The Independent spoke to protesters throughout the park about what compelled them to show up and speak out about Roe being overturned.
Lucy Trieshmann, who works for the ACLU, told me she “can’t be pregnant” so this SCOTUS “decision directly threatens my ability to live the life that I do.” Her friend, Sueli Gwiazdowski, echoed Trieshmann’s sentiments.
“Having bodily autonomy ensures that I keep surviving and thriving,” they told me.
In the same vein as Gwiazdowski, 27-year-old Jess Yu brought two signs to share her feelings on the situation.
“Bodily autonomy is something I care deeply about and the SCOTUS decision broke my heart,” she told me.
Lucas Charles told me that when he woke up this morning to the news, he “started crying and screaming.”
“It doesn’t just affect women… this is disgusting and I’m ashamed to be in a place where this is my government ,” he said, showing me his poster that read: “They won’t stop at Roe.” The poster is in reference to SCOTUS potentially reconsidering and overturning other landmark rulings, such as same-sex sex and marriage.
Ansel Bloom’s poster, which prominently featured the transgender pride flag, stuck out from under the middle of the Washington Arch. His poster simply read: “I would not have survived a pregnancy.”
The news about Roe didn’t only just bring out New York locals to protest, either. Natalija Knipse, who did not disclose where she hails from, told me she’s not American, but that the ruling made her angry and full of rage.
“I’m not American and it is an abomination that my American friends still have to face this politicized decision making,” she said.
Animals even got involved in the fight to support bodily autonomy. One furry friend, a pup named Latke but goes by Lottie, wore a poster that read: “Abortion is healthcare.”
Lottie’s owner told me that she “speaks for all people who identify as women or carry uteruses” and that she “feels that it’s important to make your own choice, if you are a human.”
Amid more chanting and the crowd growing larger, a remark from one protester to another prompted me to stop and talk to them. They were telling their friends how good it felt to be among the thousands of others who showed up to support Roe and speak out against the court’s decision.
“It’s really validating to be in a space where everyone else is as f***ing pissed off as I am,” 21-year-old Angel Macklin-Schwartz told me.