They chanted. They waved signs. They refused to accept the seemingly inevitable.

A rally supporting women’s reproductive rights was held May 3 in Esplanade Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The quickly organized event was in response to a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would obliterate Roe v. Wade from the legal landscape.

“Tonight is not the culmination of this fight nor is it the beginning of this fight,” Emma Collum, founder of Engaged Communities, said. “We’ve been out. We’ve been mobilizing voters and working with municipalities to get resolutions passed to have locally elected people express their opposition to any kind of opposition to abortion rights.”

“We want to turn anger into action,” Jasmen Rogers, founder of Folding Chair Consulting and rally organizer said. “It’s about voting, but it’s beyond that. Tonight is to hear their stories and to hear that we are not going out with a whimper. This fight isn’t over. Give people a place to be angry. Give people a place to express it and keep going.”

The draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito and cosigned by four other justices, appears to have enough votes to strike down Roe, which has been a cornerstone for nearly 50 years when it comes to protecting women’s rights. The draft was obtained, verified, and published by Politico on Monday. SFGN has not seen or verified the draft. Everyone from Chief Justice John Roberts down to grassroots activists were caught off guard by the leak.

“When this blindsided everyone, all of our group chats went crazy. People who could give birth wanted to know what they could do and what happened next,” Rogers said.

Part of the opinion reads, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. We hold that Roe and Casey [an opinion that reaffirmed Roe] must be overruled.”

Later he wrote, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

What is especially remarkable is that this is the first time a draft of an opinion has been leaked. The Supreme Court is investigating how this happened. As for motives, it’s unclear. No one has claimed responsibility. But given how polls have consistently shown support for abortion rights to be around 60%, some speculate that by leaking the draft, public backlash may prompt Alito or other conservative members of the court to soften the opinion.

Rogers put an exclamation point on what this one ruling could mean for other issues, including marriage equality, going forward.

“We need to be outraged because everything is at stake right now.”

An official ruling is expected by the end of June.


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