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Demonstrators rally in Santa Ana for reproductive rights in ‘Bans Off Abortion’ event

Demonstrators block anti-abortion signs at a "Bans Off Abortion" rally Saturday at Centennial Regional Park in Santa Ana.
(Raul Roa)

Hundreds rallied Saturday at Santa Ana’s Centennial Regional Park — one of numerous similar gatherings nationwide — in response to a leaked document indicating the Supreme Court is preparing to strike down the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.

Organized by Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties and promoted local community activism groups under the banner “Bans Off Abortions,” the event joined pro-choice residents, advocates and lawmakers.

Ada Briceño — an Orange County Democratic leader and board member of the regional Planned Parenthood’s political Community Action Fund — welcomed the crowd as members chanted, “Our bodies, our choice.”

Planned Parenthood's national day of action "Bans Off Abortion" at Santa Ana's Centennial Regional Park Saturday, May 14.
Hundreds attended Planned Parenthood’s national day of action “Bans Off Abortion” at Santa Ana’s Centennial Regional Park Saturday.
(Raul Roa)

“Today’s Bans Off Abortion rally is where I’m going to start healing from the despair and anger I felt when the news broke about the Supreme Court [opinion],” Briceño told demonstrators. “Being together, standing with you to make our voices loud and clear is what I’ve been anticipating since the leak.”

During the rally, a small anti-abortion group faced off against the crowd, bearing a wooden Christian cross and standing inside an impromptu barricade of protest signs, one of which read “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” They were quickly surrounded by protesters who engaged them and shouted in unison, “Go home!”

Planned Parenthood's "Bans Off Abortion" rally at Centennial Regional Park in Santa Ana on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties’ “Bans Off Abortion” rally at Centennial Regional Park in Santa Ana on Saturday drew hundreds.
(Raul Roa)

Demonstrations have amassed on the heels of a May 2 report from news organization Politico that a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated a majority of the panel would vote to overturn 1973’s Roe vs. Wade.

Abortion advocates have expressed fear reversing the constitutionality of access to safe and legal abortions would not only lead to a wholesale ban in multiple states but could lead to the erosion of other civil rights determined by the court. The conservative-majority court is anticipated to issue its final opinion as soon as late June or early July.

Briceño Saturday urged solidarity.

“Look to your left and look to your right and feel the strength and energy and know that we are rising,” she said.

Jacqueline Staggs of San Clemente waves a flag at a "Bans Off Abortion" rally at Centennial Regional Park in Santa Ana.
Jacqueline Staggs of San Clemente waves a flag Saturday at a “Bans Off Abortion” rally at Centennial Regional Park in Santa Ana.
(Raul Roa)

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