Abortion rights activists rally in West Hollywood ahead of Mother’s Day

Micaela Bronstein and other abortion rights supporters march down a street holding signs
Micaela Bronstein, 34, and other abortion rights supporters and activists from Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights LA march on Santa Monica Boulevard on Saturday in West Hollywood.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Protesters gathered in West Hollywood on Saturday for a march to support abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court indicated it is poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Luna Hernandez sat in the back of a red Nissan pickup truck, leading roughly 100 supporters of legal abortion down Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of West Hollywood, one of several demonstrations held across the country on Saturday ahead of Mother’s Day.

“F— the courts and the legislature, women are not incubators,” Hernandez chanted to the beat of a drum. Protesters, many donning green bandanas — a symbol of abortion rights — repeated her words from the middle of the cleared thoroughfare as brunch eaters and passersby looked on.


At one point, the truck halted and Hernandez exhorted others to join the march, which was spurred by the recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe and allow states to ban abortions.

“We must act like our lives depend on it — because they do,” cried Hernandez, a volunteer with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, which organized the rally.

A small crowd began forming in front of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department station in West Hollywood, on the corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards, around noon. It steadily grew as speakers shared their reasons for taking to the streets to protest the possibility of a post-Roe vs. Wade reality.

Wearing a bright red dress and combat boots, Bianca Christensen recounted becoming pregnant while living on the streets in her early 20s. She described the father as a violent and controlling man who restricted her access to healthcare — including birth control.

It wasn’t an easy decision, said Christensen, now 39.

“Of course I had love in my heart for the idea of a child of my own,” Christensen told the crowd. “But I also knew in my heart that, one, I could not bear a child to this man, and two, if I were to bear this man’s child, I would be trapped by him, to some extent, for the rest of my life. And trapped for the rest of my life in poverty.”

Christensen said she fought her way out of poverty, went to school and now works as a chemical engineer.


Pat Dixon, a woman in her 80s, listened from the outer edge of the crowd, flanked by several friends. The West Hollywood resident had become pregnant when she was 19 in New York City in 1959 — when abortion was illegal. She recalled the traumatic experience of desperately trying to find someone to perform what her friend called a back-alley abortion.

“It was an awful experience,” Dixon said, describing feelings of immense shame. “To go back to that would be devastating.”

The mood was jubilant as the crowd made its way through the tony neighborhood known for its large LGTBQ community. The protesters drew cheers of support as they passed the Abbey, a local bar and restaurant.

Abbey owner David Cooley, who was standing outside, said it was important “to really have a voice,” adding that gay rights could be under scrutiny next.

“We’ve got to stop this now,” he said.

Protesters marched to West Hollywood Park, where they held an art party to make posters and banners in preparation for a week of actions that will culminate in mass nationwide protests May 14.

The demonstrations come after Politico reported on Monday that a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated a majority of the court would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, reversing its recognition of women’s constitutional right to access safe and legal abortions. The Supreme Court has confirmed the authenticity of the draft but said that the decision is not yet final. At least 26 states are expected to ban abortion if the precedent falls.


The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, could issue a final opinion in late June or early July.

The city of West Hollywood, for its part, declared its support for abortion rights in 1993 and issued a news release decrying the draft opinion.

“The Supreme Court’s impending decision on the future of reproductive freedom is devastating,” Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath said in a statement. “That our federal government intends to deny our constitutionally protected rights, which have been enshrined by decades of legal precedent, is the most vicious legal assault in modern history.”

West Hollywood is committed to protecting reproductive rights, Mayor Lauren Meister added.

“We cannot go backwards,” she said. “It is up to our representatives in Congress, with our support, to make women’s right to choose the law of the land.”

More demonstrations are planned around the country Sunday.