WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Demonstrations in support of abortion rights have been taking place across the U.S. and in the D.C. region ever since the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that appears to strike down Roe v. Wade. Saturday, Planned Parenthood held multiple marches in support of abortion access in the DMV.
"The people in your community and across the country deserve the power and freedom to make their own personal reproductive health care decisions," the event page says. Together we will send a strong message that abortion access must be protected and supported."
The event began at 12 p.m. at the northeast side of the Washington Monument. The group then marched to the Supreme Court after the rally at the monument.
Cries of "My body, my choice" rang out as activists committed to fighting for the legal protection that has endured for nearly a half-century. Thousands gathered in drizzly weather at the Washington Monument to listen to fiery speeches before marching to the Supreme Court, which is now surrounded by two layers of security fences.
The mood was one of anger and defiance.
"I can’t believe that at my age, I’m still having to protest over this," said Samantha Rivers, a 64-year-old federal government employee who is preparing for a state-by-state battle over abortion rights.
Caitlin Loehr, 34, of Washington, wore a black T-shirt with an image of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s "dissent" collar on it and a necklace that spelled out "vote."
"I think that women should have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and their lives. And I don’t think banning abortion will stop abortion. It just makes it unsafe and can cost a woman her life," Loehr said.
A half-dozen anti-abortion demonstrators sent out a countering message, with Jonathan Darnel shouting into a microphone, "Abortion is not health care, folks, because pregnancy is not an illness."
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14: Abortion rights activists participate in a Bans Off Our Bodies rally at the base of the Washington Monument on May 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. Abortion rights supporters are holding rallies around the country urging lawmakers to affirm abortion rights into law after a leaked draft from the U.S. Supreme Court exposed a potential decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
In addition to abortion rally at the National Mall, six other protests also took place Saturday across the D.C. region. Protesters took to the streets outside the homes of all six conservative Supreme Court Justices.
FOX 5 crews were on the scene as pro-choice supporters gathered in Chevy Chase, Maryland before marching toward the homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts. The group started at Kavanaugh’s home before making their way to Roberts' home. Other protesters rallied across Maryland and Northern Virginia at the homes of the four other conservative Justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr., Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch.
FOX 5 spoke with several protesters at the rally who expressed their dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court Justices over the leaked draft opinion that indicates Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
One protester told FOX 5, "I’m still as furious as the day I found out personally. And I feel that’s pretty obvious through our demonstrations. Nobody is standing for it and we will not go quietly into that." Another protester added, "what we’re doing is a peaceful assembly just to let people know. There is no decision that has come forth yet there’s just a draft so we’re saying hey look we have a right in this country to come together to say what’s on our heart and share our opinion. If the court has an opinion American citizens have an opinion."
The protests Saturday followed several rallies outside the home of the Justices over the past week. The group in Chevy Chase told FOX 5 crews they plan to hold rallies every Wednesday.
FOX 5 crews also noticed a heavy police presence at the protests. Local, state, and federal law enforcement officers were seen surrounding the homes of Justice Kavanaugh and Chief Justice Roberts.
Earlier this week, both Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said they want tightened security around the homes of the Supreme Court Justices. They sent a letter to the justice department urging U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to put safeguards in place for the Justices and their families.
Virginia’s Attorney General along with 24 other state Attorneys General are also asking the Department of Justice to enforce a federal law that bans protesting at the homes of Supreme Court Justices.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.