Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Brennon Dixson, Kristy Hutchings, Saumya Gupta
The Orange County Register
It didn’t take long after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade for hundreds of people to congregate in the shadow of a federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
One person hoisted a sign that read: “Trust me with a child but not a choice?” Another simply said, “Trust women.”
Authority to regulate abortion rests with political branches, not the courts, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion issued Friday. Many states rushed to ban abortion outright while California’s Democratic leaders moved to enshrine protections for providers and people seeking services from other states.
The Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights rally in sunny Los Angeles was just one of several protests and demonstrations held across Southern California Friday as the high court’s decision caused shockwaves across the nation. At some rallies, people were weary and afraid of what the court could do next. But at others, people were elated.
Natalie Torres called out of work in Pasadena to protest the Supreme Court’s decision. From Brazil, Torres said she was inspired by Latin American countries that have decriminalized abortion despite having predominantly Catholic citizens.
“Why can’t America look like that,” Torres said.
Mid City resident Kayla Esmond told the crowd she underwent an abortion procedure in Arkansas that saved her life.
“I got a lot of regrets, but abortion ain’t one of them,” Esmond said. “I was lucky to be a white woman with $600 in Arkansas when it was still legal because there are so many people that, even when it was legal, were not able to access abortion, and they suffered for it.”
More Roe v. Wade coverage
That is why people must flood the streets in protest, Esmond said.
Yet several miles east in El Monte, five people gathered outside a Planned Parenthood facility to celebrate the overturning of Roe. Glendy Perez said the court’s decision was an answer to prayers.
“We are so overjoyed that a decision like that was made,” Perez said. “We think justice is taking place.”
And in Torrance, a few dozen anti-abortion activists gathered at the intersection of Sepulveda and Hawthorne Boulevards, maintaining the court’s move was long overdue.
“We’re so happy it’s reversed. We’re celebrating,” Annette LeRoux, a longtime resident, said. “Even though it’s not reversed in California, we have hope it will be.”
There were no reports of any arrests or unruly activity during the midday protest in downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore told KNX radio the agency was shifting some of its deployment plans to ensure it is prepared to respond if any protests in the coming days get out of hand, the way some did two years ago following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“Los Angeles will be safe,” Moore told KNX Newsradio. “What was learned from two years ago were lessons in training and development of added tools. We’re not going to have any tolerance for people who wish to hijack this and resort to violence.”
He said the LAPD is aware that some “extremists” may work to take advantage of protests to engage in lawlessness. But he insisted the agency will be prepared.