On Friday evening, thousands of people poured into Washington Square Park to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier in the day. Chants of “Vote them out!” and “Our body, our choice” boomed through the park, making flocks of unsettled pigeons fly up past Washington Square Arch and into the sky. As the evening progressed, the crowd grew until it filled up the park and spilled into the adjacent streets. Sad. Angry. Furious. Beyond. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Musaf, 53, father of Sophia
“I’m here today because it’s a dark day and I have a daughter who is going to grow up in a world, in a country, where there is no Roe v. Wade. That’s saddening and disturbing, and it’s not acceptable. That’s the reality right now until we change things.”
“What I’m afraid we’re going to see is that this is just the beginning of overturning everything that is good and about equality. They’re coming for us; they’re going to come after all of us.”
Julianne Dalcanton, 54
“I was born during the Civil Rights Era of the late 1960s early 1970s. I remember going to meetings of [the National Organization of Women] with my mom — this isn’t a place we ever thought we could get to. I don’t want a Supreme Court that forces women who don’t want to have children to have children. I don’t want to live in a world where they can unmarry my gay friends. I don’t wanna live in a world where bad things can happen to my trans friends. The other side has been organizing towards this for 50 years and we have to do the same.
“Abortion can be framed as anti-kids, but it’s actually just women controlling when they have children and how they have children and how they can be a better mom. There are times in your life when you’d be a terrible mom and times of your life when you’d be a fantastic mom and you should get to choose when that is, or if you want it at all.
“It shouldn’t be restricted to women who have enough money to be able to travel to places where they can get abortions. All women should have the right to choose.”
Melanie Nicole, 24
“I have once had to have an abortion and a lot of my friends have had to. And it’s ridiculous that we have to still be here. But, times don’t change it seems. … I wouldn’t be surprised if other rights were overturned. It’s disappointing, but not surprising.”
Susan Kaplan, 59
Susan Kaplan, a documentary filmmaker who was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, and Aviva, who was born and raised in Israel, turned to each other and laughed sardonically when asked why they were at the protest.
“Do you read what my sign says? ‘I will not go quietly back to the Fifties’,” Susan said. “It’s predominantly white men who are misogynistic and racist who are trying to control women and their bodies. And we just aren’t going to go quietly. The only way to fight this is through voting. We have to place our votes. I’ll do everything I can to get the vote out. I sit in a few different groups to do that. It’s not just at the federal level but locally. Particularly in states that are considered red states right now. We outnumber the folks who are saying that we should roll back all of our rights. We outnumber them. We just have to feel our power and go out and vote.”
Aviva described the current developments as extremely scary. “I was born in 1940, during World War II. When I was a child in Israel, I saw a lot of people who were survivors of the Holocaust,” she said. “I saw a lot of people with numbers marked on them. So I was very aware of Nazis and Hitler and their rise from a very cultured country like Germany — how it became autocratic. And I’d been afraid of that since Trump was elected. This Supreme Court, the more I read about it, it’s not just abortion that is banned, but also women who have miscarriages are in danger. They’re trying to turn back all of our rights. It’s just going to start with Roe v Wade. It’s very much like The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s beginning to happen.”
“And, the combination of what they decided today and yesterday they reversed the New York law about conceal and carry in public spaces and then they say they’re pro-life. So the way I see it, you have the baby but we’re not going to give you money to support the baby to help the baby and then we’re going to kill the baby.”
“It’s scarier than just abortion.”
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