Thousands protest restrictive abortion legislation at #StopTheBans events nationwide

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LOS ANGELES — Protesters gathered in cities across the United States Tuesday to stand in solidarity against restrictive abortion bills recently passed by multiple state legislatures, and in some cases signed into law.

More than 50 organizations, including the ACLU, NARAL Pro-Choice local organizations, Women’s March and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund joined together to organize widespread protests under the hashtag #StopTheBans.

Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio have passed laws that prohibit abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected — about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. Louisiana is close to enacting a similar ban.

Alabama, meanwhile, enacted the nation’s most restrictive abortion law last week, making performing abortions a felony at any stage of pregnancy with almost no exceptions.

None of the laws has taken effect, and all are expected to be blocked while legal challenges work their way through the courts.

Some Georgia prosecutors have already stated that they have no plans to prosecute women under the new “heartbeat” abortion law passed in the state.

Opponents of the recent state abortion bans have pointed out that the legislation likely undermines the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, which determined that, in most cases, criminalizing abortion violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy.

But some state lawmakers hope two new conservative justices nominated by President Donald Trump will provide the votes for the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide.

More than 350 events were planned in cities nationwide outside of capital buildings, in town squares, courthouses and beyond, with the flagship event taking place in Washington D.C.

Leaders in reproductive justice and health care, as well as members of Congress, were slated to be in attendance at the D.C. event, including NARAL President Ilyse Hogue and Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen.

Women in red robes, which have become a symbol of feminist power after being borrowed from Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” joined the protests at San Francisco City Hall, one of them carrying a sign that read, “Vasectomy prevents abortion.” 

Demonstrators in Minnesota flooded the State Capitol building, chanting, “Our bodies, our choice!”

In Los Angeles, a 5 p.m. protest was planned by NARAL Pro-Choice California, and protesters were encouraged to bring signs and posters to demonstrate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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