Amid an influx of abortion-rights protests converging on state capitols, town squares and courthouses across the country Tuesday, seeking to counter an onslaught of anti-abortion bills sweeping across state legislatures, a slate of 2020 White House hopefuls may join protesters on the steps of the Supreme Court.
Among the 2020 candidates expected or likely to voice support for abortion rights in the midst of a heated political battle are Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, who once was anti-abortion but flipped his stance as he’s moved further left over the years. California Congressman Eric Swalwell is one of the confirmed speakers for the planned demonstration.
The event is set to begin at noon, as abortion-rights advocates seek to “fight back against this unconstitutional attempt to gut Roe and punish women,” according to the #StopTheBans website. The slew of protests were triggered by GOP-led efforts to pass restrictive anti-abortion measures aimed at fomenting a larger battle over Roe v. Wade in the nation’s highest court.
Several states are seeking to mount legal challenges to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, including Missouri, which on Friday passed the most recent ban — state lawmakers charged ahead with an eight-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest or survivors of human trafficking. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign the restrictive bill into law in the coming days.
Missouri followed a wave of conservative states passing restrictive abortion bans, including Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia. Lawmakers in those states approved “heartbeat” bills, which ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Alabama’s ban, signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey last week, imposes the harshest limitations of any state in the country — a near-full ban on the procedure, not providing for any window of a pregnancy when abortion is legal.
“Across the country, we are seeing a new wave of extreme bans on abortion, stripping away reproductive freedom and representing an all-out assault on abortion access,” states the event’s website, which hosted by groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, All* Above All Action Fund, the ACLU and the Women’s March. “This is Trump’s anti-choice movement … and it’s terrifying, particularly for women of color and low-income women who are most affected by these bans. … Politicians shouldn’t be making decisions best left to women, their families and their doctors.”
Amid the the cacophony of outrage from abortion-rights groups, many among the field of 2020 Democratic hopefuls vying for the White House immediately condemned the anti-abortion efforts last week.
“It’s nothing short of an attack on women’s basic human rights and civil rights, and it’s something women in America will have to fight against with everything they’ve got,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said on MSNBC.
“Access to safe, legal abortion is a constitutional RIGHT. Full stop,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote on Twitter.
“The Alabama legislature is ignoring science, criminalizing abortion, and punishing women,” Buttigieg tweeted. “Instead, the government’s role should be to make sure all women have access to comprehensive affordable care, and that includes safe and legal abortion.”
“Republicans in AL, FL, GA, and OH are ushering in laws that clearly violate Roe v Wade and they should be declared unconstitutional,” former Vice President Joe Biden shared on Twitter. “Roe v Wade is settled law and should not be overturned. This choice should remain between a woman and her doctor.”
ABC News’ Jacqueline Yoo and Meghan Keneally contributed to this report.