'My body my choice': Thousands rally across US for abortion rights

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NEW YORK: Thousands of activists chanting, banging drums and wielding placards flooded streets across the United States on Saturday (May 14) in a national day of action calling for safe and legal access to abortion.

The mass demonstrations were a response to a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court's conservative majority is poised to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion access nationwide.

"Nobody has the right to make a decision on somebody else's body," said Hanna Williamson, 20, who drove three hours to join several thousand protesters in Washington.

Thousands more people assembled in a central square in Brooklyn, New York, to carry a giant pink banner that read: "Our Bodies. Our Futures. Our Abortions."

The protestors, who included Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other influential Democrats, were of all genders and ages and many wore green, a symbolic color of abortion rights activism.

"We're gonna keep fighting until we win," Schumer told AFP. "America is on our side."

Allison Easter, 58, called the turnout "encouraging."

"There's so many young people, so many mothers wheeling their babies, so many people with their husbands or boyfriends, so many men - so many different kinds of people support this cause," she told AFP.

She said that the political push to restrict or ban abortion was "about power and control."

"There are a lot of people who have very traditional values, and are frightened by women who can make choices about their own body," Easter said, as a crush of demonstrators flooded into lower Manhattan.

"I know there are people who think it's about religion, but if you look at the things they've done in the name of religion, it doesn't bear true."

"CONTRARY TO OUR FOUNDING"

Thousands of people also rallied in Texas and Kentucky, with smaller events elsewhere in the country.

"These are a group of people in this country who are working to dismantle 60 years of civil rights and civil liberties of the United States of America," Linda Sarsour, a prominent political activist, told AFP in New York.

"We respect everybody's right to hold whatever religious belief or whatever opinion they have on an issue like abortion," she continued.

"What we want you to know is that you can do you - and allow people to still have access to safe, affordable, women's reproductive rights."

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