Abortion rights activists will march across U.S. to protest restrictive laws

Abortion rights activists will march across U.S. to protest restrictive laws

Women’s rights activists will march in 660 marches scheduled around the United States on Saturday to protest recent moves to restrict abortion access, including a new Texas legislation that prohibits abortions after six weeks.

Protesters will march to the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., two days before the court reconvenes for a session in which the justices will hear a Mississippi case that may allow them to overturn abortion rights established in the famous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

On September 1, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea by abortion and women’s health providers to halt implementation of Texas’ near-total ban, the country’s harshest such statute.

“This is kind of a break-glass moment for people all over the nation,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of Women’s March, the major organizer of Saturday’s protests.

The state’s so-called “heartbeat” law, which took effect on September 1, prohibits abortion once the cardiac activity is discovered in the embryo, which is generally about six weeks. That is before most women realize they are pregnant and before 85 percent to 90 percent of all abortions are performed, according to specialists.

Texas also allows regular individuals to enforce the prohibition, paying them with at least $10,000 if they successfully sue anybody who assisted in the provision of unlawful abortion.

About hundreds of Texas women have gone to neighbouring states for abortions in the month after the legislation was passed, while others have sought abortion-inducing drugs by mail or attended “crisis pregnancy clinics” that persuade women not to have abortions. Abortion clinics are fighting to stay open as patient visits drop and some employees leave.

Abortion rights activists and the US Justice Department have filed lawsuits in state and federal courts, claiming that the statute violates Roe v. Wade.

On Friday, a federal court in Austin heard the Justice Department’s plea to temporarily halt the legislation while its constitutionality is contested.

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