PHOENIX - Arizona's Capitol building was bustling on May 14 with hundreds of protesters on both sides of the abortion debate following a Roe v. Wade draft opinion from the Supreme Court that was leaked, showing that the ruling could be overturned in the next month or two.
Planned Parenthood called for the "Bans Off Our Bodies" Day of Action to show support for abortion access and reproductive freedom. Cities all across America took part in the day of action, including hundreds in Phoenix.
The demonstration was also meant to highlight how losing safe abortion and reproductive health care will impact "Black, brown, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with lower incomes, LGBTQ+ people, young people, and people from rural communities."
If the ruling is overturned, abortion rights will likely become a matter of states' rights.
"While Arizona has pre-Roe criminal laws on its books, they are currently enjoined and therefore would not immediately take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned, as the state would first have to file a request to lift an injunction. This legislative session, Arizona also became the first state to pass a 15-week ban, which could take effect later this year. If Roe is overturned, we expect that anti-abortion politicans will continue working to make abortion inaccessible in Arizona," read a press release from Planned Parenthood.
‘We don’t want to go back’
Anger, drive, and passion from supporters on both sides, poised with megaphones and decorated signs, once again battled it out, in front of the state capitol.
"It’s not about babies," said Erin Sundman. "It’s about bodies."
Suzi Vago agrees.
"I’m just tired of somebody else telling women what to do all the time. You know, we have a mind, we have a body, we can figure it out, so we don’t need anybody else to tell us what to do," Vago said.
The gathering was organized by the Women’s March along with Planned Parenthood. Organizers say they had originally been planning the national march before the draft opinion leaked, but they had to fast-track it after the opinion was published.
"I was in high school when they passed Roe v. Wade and as I say, we don’t want to go back," Sundman said.
‘I believe that every life matters’
Pro-life advocates also gathered in opposition, setting up right next to the pro-choice group at the capitol.
"I believe that every life matters and I believe that everyone, whether it’s born or unborn, has rights just as I have rights to life," said Anthony Dewitt.
Anti-abortion supporters say human rights start in the womb and must be protected.
Courtney Schaefer says she's fighting for just that.
"I thought it was important for us to take a stance and be another person joining the side of the crowd to show that there are people that are pro-life that are fighting for the rights of the unborn," Schaefer said.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is not expected until June or early July.
- Roe v. Wade: What you need to know about a key abortion ruling that the Supreme Court looks poised to overturn
- 'Bans off our Bodies': Abortion rights supporters rally across the U.S.
- Clarence Thomas: Roe v. Wade leak has 'fundamentally' changed Supreme Court