LOS ANGELES — Joining demonstrators across the country, women’s rights activists gathered in downtown Los Angeles and elsewhere around the state Saturday as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
The L.A. rally organized by the Women’s March Foundation started at 10 a.m. and was set to feature appearances from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Alex Padilla, and Reps. Karen Bass and Maxine Waters.
Donna Troy Wangler was among the few women gathered at the L.A. City Hall rally who wasn’t toting a sign proclaiming her views. But the Inland Empire high school teacher had poignant story to share about her daughter Lauren, who was born with Down’s syndrome and was 6 years old when she died.
“Some people seem to think it’s a snap for moms like [me] to have an abortion,” Wangler said. “I decided to keep my child — and that was a traumatic load to carry. But gosh, the love we shared changed my life forever.”
Holding up her cellphone, she gushed, “Here’s a photo of Lauren — Look how proud of herself she is!”
“So, I’m here today,” added Wangler, 53, “ because I want the world to know that abortion is a woman’s choice. No one else’s.”
The rally is one of hundreds taking place across the country, including in San Francisco, San Diego, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Austin, Texas.
Shante Young, 28, a construction company project engineer who lives in Costa Mesa, and her boyfriend Dylan Sanchez, 30, a retail salesman who lives in Whittier, sought shade under a tree in Grand Park as they listened to the voices of abortion rights supporters booming through loudspeakers from the stage in front of City Hall. A few yards away, anti-abortion demonstrators banged drums and used a megaphone to drown out the activists’ voices.
“If they start taking away women’s rights, they’re going to take away the right to vote,” Young said. “What’s next? It’s very scary.”
News helicopters hovered overhead, and hundreds of protesters around them applauded and cheered the speakers on stage. “The biggest thing is to make our presence known,” Sanchez said. He, too, fretted that the loss of abortion rights would foreshadow the loss of other rights. “I’m just concerned that one thing is going to change another thing, like a domino effect,” he said.