Hundreds of protesters marched Wednesday evening through downtown San Diego in support of legal abortions following Monday’s leak of a draft opinion showing the U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade, thus ending federal protection for abortion rights.
More than 500 people joined the evening procession, roughly doubling a crowd that protested and marched Tuesday night. Demonstrators on Wednesday chanted as they walked through parts of downtown and Little Italy, and along the San Diego Harbor, trailing a white banner at the head of the group that read: “Legal Abortion Once and for All.”
It was part of a continued nationwide and local response to the leaked draft opinion, published Monday by Politico, which revealed the court appears poised to reverse the landmark 1973 opinion that upheld a woman’s right to abortion without government restrictions.
The rally Wednesday began in front of the San Diego Hall of Justice along Broadway, across the street from where protesters rallied Tuesday in front of the federal courthouse. The march was believed to be the largest protest in the San Diego-region since June 4, 2020, when about 2,000 protesters marched through downtown, Hillcrest and North Park to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
While three congressmembers and other local elected leaders — all Democrats — attended and spoke at the Tuesday rally, Wednesday’s protest was community-focused and organized by the San Diego branches of Socialist Alternative and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
“Abortion is a medical issue, a working class issue, and our bodies cannot be used by the Supreme Court or by the government at large as bargaining tools,” Justine Mann from the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s local branch told the Union-Tribune.
Mann said the protest march was a reminder that “the power isn’t in the voting booth.”
As demonstrators chanted and drummers thumped their instruments nearby, Mann said “the power is this energy here. And together, as the working class, we can turn the tides of anything.”
Speakers at the rally said more and larger demonstrations would be needed, pointing to recent largescale feminist protests in Argentina, where lawmakers legalized abortion, and Mexico, where the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion.
San Diego police officers shut down streets to traffic across downtown as protesters marched along Broadway, Third Avenue, India Street, Pacific Highway and North Harbor Drive.
At one point, the group marched past the San Diego Civic Theatre, where the Tom Cruise led film “Top Gun: Maverick” was premiering Wednesday night. In Little Italy, a restaurant worker briefly ran alongside the protesters, shouting out that she wished she could leave work to join the demonstration. Along Pacific Highway, a couple joined the march pushing a baby in a stroller, while dozens of drivers throughout the night honked their support.
The demonstration lasted about two hours, ending back at the Hall of Justice.