Women's March 2022—Roe v. Wade Protesters to Take to the Streets Nationwide

Women's March, the global, women-led feminist movement, is calling for supporters to show up in front of local federal courthouses, buildings, town halls and town squares across the country to defend abortion rights, in response to the news that the Supreme Court might be moving to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The group is calling on people to pressure elected officials to take action before the majority of the Supreme Court judges might effectively overrule Roe v. Wade, an action a leaked draft opinion published by Politico on Monday evening has shown that the court is preparing to take.

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Demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. Women's March called for a protest at 5 p.m. on Tuesday nationwide. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The document, written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, shows that the court is willing to overrule Roe v. Wade—the landmark case which in 1973 recognized abortion as a fundamental right—and "return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

Anti-abortion and abortion-rights activists took to the streets of Washington on Monday night following the news of the leaked draft opinion, with the two groups of protesters facing off outside the Supreme Court.

Abortion rights activists could be seen holding placards and candles, torn between anger and grief. Some were holding signs saying "Abortion is healthcare," some were chanting and screaming, while others were crying.

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Anti-abortion activists line a police barricade in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, early on May 3, 2022. Anti-abortion and abortion-rights activists have been facing off in front of the Supreme Court. Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

One person held a placard that read "50 years of precedent, Roe = the law," a direct response to the reasoning given by Alito to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the leaked draft opinion, the judge wrote that Roe "must be overruled" on the basis that abortion is not protected by any constitutional provision and it's not "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition."

The release of the draft, a 98-page document, is an unprecedented leak in the history of the Supreme Court, and it's likely to be consequential. Many have been wondering who could have leaked the document to Politico, and whether it was the action of someone who was hoping to raise the kind of social pressure we're seeing now emerging in response to the document. But the answer is still unknown.

The draft opinion does not represent the final decision of the Supreme Court on the case, and could be modified in the next two months.

Yet, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is expected that half of the states will impose bans on abortion or severely restrict access to this type of care.

"We're horrified, saddened, and livid," wrote Women's March on Twitter. "If you are too, then now is the time to show up and show them our movement won't back down from protecting our reproductive rights."

The group's protest has been called for 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday May 3.

"For years, women in this country have been warning about the end of abortion. That day has arrived," Women's March Executive Director Rachel O'Leary Carmona said in an official statement shared with the press and sent to Newsweek.

"Tonight, the Supreme Court isn't just on the wrong side of history—it's on the wrong side of the present," O'Leary said, calling the decision presented by the leaked document as the "worst-case-scenario come to life."

"If and when this decision takes effect, the consequences will be unbearable—and for many women, lethal. That is no exaggeration. But it's also no exaggeration to say that women will fight back like we always have. We won't take this lying down," O'Leary said.

Women's March has been organizing massive protests every year since 2017, when millions took part in marches across the country to protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump as president.

The protests, prompted by misogynist and offensive comments Trump had made against women and which had emerged during his presidential campaign, drew some 500,000 people to Washington and many more across the country, making the march on January 21, 2017 the largest single-day protest in American history.