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Bay Area rallies held Friday protest U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion

Thousands in SF march to protest Court strikedown of Roe v Wade
Thousands in SF march to protest Court strikedown of Roe v Wade 02:12

SAN FRANCISCO -- Planned rallies and demonstrations were held across the Bay Area Friday to protest the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade thereby ending constitutional protection for abortion. 

In San Francisco, a vocal rally was held at the Civic Center where hundreds of people gathered to protest the Supreme Court's ruling.

"All the women around me today, just coming together, I feel the energy and I'm friggin' pi**ed!" said Sahar Nayrama.

"You can have your beliefs on what is moral but you can't impose those on other people," said Daniel Joseph.

The Planned Parenthood of Northern California was one of the organizers for the event. "It is time to pivot to action. Yes, take the day to have emotions but tomorrow, let's get back to work," said Gilda Gonzales, CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern California.

As that work begins, Gonzales hopes today's anger drives voters to the polls in every upcoming election. Protesters say they're encouraged by Friday's turnout that change will come again. 

"We still have more work to do but it gives me hope that we're moving in the right direction," Nayrama said.

A sprawling protest began at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and ended at the Ferry Building after speeches, chants, marching and a 49-minute sit-in on Market Street representing the 49 years Roe v. Wade was law in the United States.

The protest was organized by the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice along with a coalition of other organizations including The Raging Grannies Action League, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and Freedom Socialist Party.

The rally began at 5 p.m. at the federal courthouse with a small crowd but soon expanded to more than 1,000 people listening to speeches lambasting the Supreme Court justices and warning against the consequences of their decision.

"We cannot stop at fighting for abortion. We have to fight for all of us," said Christina Lee, of the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice. "So women, queer folks, trans folks, straight folks, we all must come together. Citizens, immigrants. We all have to come together and fight for us, because if we do not stand together, they will pick us off, one by one."

Many speeches blamed not only Republicans but also Democrats for the stripping away of reproductive rights.

"So far, Biden and the Democrats have not enshrined Roe in law, ended the filibuster or done much about this but fundraise for November. They have had fifty years to take action and we are done waiting," said Sarah, from Socialist Alternative. "The protest today is not just to blow off steam. This needs to be the start of a movement to bring back abortion rights."

Shortly thereafter, Honey Mahogany, chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, arrived at the event.

"I don't know about you but I am pissed off," Mahogany told the crowd. "We will not stand for it but we do not have the time to grieve. Today, it is abortion but we already know -- Justice Thomas already told us -- our right to privacy is under attack and it doesn't stop at abortion access."

At one point early in the evening a group of 200-300 protesters had to be cleared off of lanes of Highway 101 in San Francisco after they gained access to the freeway at the Octavia Street entrance.

Rallies also took place Friday evening in Oakland and San Jose as well as in San Mateo where, at Central Park, activists rallied for reproductive rights.

"This is not the time to be silent," said Diane Papan, San Mateo's deputy mayor, who organized this rally. "We are going to merge, organize, donate, vote."

San Mateo County has enacted a 100-foot buffer zone ordinance to protect access to the local Planned Parenthood Mar Monte clinic and has recently allocated $1 million to support Planned Parenthood and other local abortion clinics in the city's steps to become a sanctuary for people seeking abortions.

Sen. Josh Becker said he was saddened to be at this afternoon's rally as a father of an 18-year-old daughter who no longer has the same rights that were in place in the United States since 1973.

"There is a coordinated right-wing extremist attack on women. There is going to be potentially an attack on LGBTQ individuals," said Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, who represents San Mateo and Redwood City in the 22nd Assembly District.

Rally attendees held posters reading "Justices lied, now women will die" and "I Love Pro-Choice California", also shouting "our bodies our rights."

Friday's decision, which came more than a month after the leak of a draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, indicating the high court was prepared to take this step.

The high court's ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in about half of the 50 states.

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