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Thousands take to New York City streets to support abortion rights

Thousands take to NYC streets to support abortion rights
Thousands take to NYC streets to support abortion rights 02:54

NEW YORK -- There were protests across the country Saturday as abortion rights supporters expressed outrage over the leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

After that, the Senate tried and failed to pass a bill shoring up a nationwide right to abortion.

As CBS2's Dave Carlin reports, one of the largest demonstrations in the nation was held in New York City.

Tens of thousands of supporters marched and gathered in Union Square, Foley Square, Cadman Plaza and across the Brooklyn Bridge, chanting and holding their signs up high.

"Just supporting our sisters across the world and the nation," Park Slope resident Nancy Henry said.

Protesters demanded the Supreme Court not reverse the 50-year precedent set by Roe v. Wade.

Planned Parenthood and other groups established the "Day of Action."

"We gotta make sure we keep our clinics open," said Liberate Abortion campaign director Sharmin Hossain.

Hossain found vocal support for abortion rights from some prominent entertainers.

"I think about safety. I think about equality, because if we're not all equal, none of us really are," singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper said.

"Abortion rights are health care rights," actress Sandra Bernhard said. "That is our right. It cannot be taken away."

"We actually need expanded access, at this moment, in New York, where we are protecting our brothers and sisters in Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania where abortion is on the line," Hossain said.

"Fifty years of allowing women to have the right to choose is what we're here for, and this is going to be a city that's always going to respect that," Mayor Eric Adams said.

Adams vowed New York won't go back.

As CBS2's Christina Fan reports, in New York, Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas of Queens is sponsoring a bill to bolster abortion care locally and said the leaked draft opinion is already having an impact.

"We're already hearing now that clinics have many weeks wait already, given the impending decision. We want to let folks know that the decision is not yet final," Gonzalez-Rojas said.

New York's rallies were among nearly 400 demonstrations in major U.S. cities. The nationwide "Bans Off Our Bodies" event was organized by several groups, including Planned Parenthood, Women's March, Move On, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

Watch Jessica Moore's report 

Hundreds of abortion rights demonstrations held across the U.S. 02:00

Abortion rights activists gathered in Westfield, New Jersey.

"I'm appalled by the idea of highest court in the land taking our fundamental bodily autonomy away," New Jersey resident Elrendar Savad said. "It's horrifying to think that's a right we could lose."

"It shouldn't be my choice. It shouldn't be up to me to decide what a woman gets to do when it comes to her doctor and her own health," New York resident Stephen Yellin said.

New Jersey is also looking to boost abortion access.

Gov. Phil Murphy proposed a bill that would expand abortion providers to include advanced practice nurses, midwives and physician assistants; and mandate insurance plans cover abortion with no out-of-pocket costs.

The New Jersey bill would also protect health care providers and patients from legal retaliation by states that have outlawed or restricted abortion.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that all New Jerseyans have access to reproductive health care," Murphy said.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas recently addressed the leak at an event in Dallas.

"I just think that anybody ... that anybody who would, for example, have an attitude to leak documents, that general attitude is your future on the bench and you need to be concerned about that, and we never had that before," he said.

Anti-abortion rights demonstrators at the Supreme Court call it a human rights issue and say they're preparing to celebrate a long-awaited and possibly historic decision.

"I think it's wrong to say, hey, that person's different, that person's too young. You know, that person is two cells, they're not a human being yet, when scientifically, yes, they are. They are a life at conception," said Lori Cascio with Students for Life.

CBS News polling shows a potential overturn of Roe v. Wade has yet to motivate most voters. Forty percent of Democrats say they would be more likely to vote in the midterms if Roe is overturned, compared to 17 percent of Republicans.  

People on both sides of the issue say they know the fight will intensify. More rallies are already in the works.

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