NEW YORK — Thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Washington Square Park early Friday night to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Crowds congregated in Washington Square around 6:30 p.m. before marching east on 5th Avenue toward Grand Central Station. According to a New York Post article, there were an estimated 17,000 people in the crowd.
The court ruled in favor of Hobbs v. Jackson Friday morning. The decision redirected the power to control the legality of abortions to the individual states.
The conclusion almost immediately sparked a response on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok, where users posted flyers promoting the rally.
Protestors demonstrated their dismay with the ruling: “In America, life begins at conception and ends in a mass shooting,” one sign read. Others displayed cultural references to abortions, such as, “RBG is angry” and “Have you seen Dirty Dancing?”
Protestor Felicia Billers held a sign with wire coat hangers to reflect on unsafe abortion practices that occurred in a pre-Roe v. Wade world. The 70 year old explained that she remembers when abortions were inaccessible, and the implications were horrifying: “Many women were found dead from illegal abortions,” she said.
“It has nothing to do with life, it’s all about control,” the Staten Island native said. But Billers was optimistic: “There is an election coming up, and we still have people who will do anything they can to help women who need abortions,” she declared.
In addition to the passionate marchers, New York Governor Kate Hochul responded to the ruling on behalf of the state, calling it a “dark day for women across the nation,” according to the New York Times. She declared the state a “safe harbor” for women who were seeking abortions.
Hochul is taking steps to make abortions more reachable, proposing an advertising campaign that would apprise women in New York about their reproductive rights within the state’s borders. A $35 million dollar fund for reproductive health clinics is expected to help patients in New York and aid in the anticipated surge of out-of-state visitors seeking abortions.