Abortion rallies center on Santa Monica Planned Parenthood

A pro-abortion rights rally organized by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights marched to a Santa Monica Planned Parenthood office on Saturday to overwhelm far-right groups planning to protest outside the medical clinic.

The anti-abortion rally, to be held outside Planned Parenthood-Santa Monica Health Center, comes nearly a month after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide .

Far-right group AmericanMade Patriots held a rally in Palisades Park in Santa Monica earlier this month, and on July 9, far-right groups protested outside Santa Monica Planned Parenthood’s office, forcing the clinic to close early.

About 100 abortion rights activists had gathered outside Santa Monica City Hall by 10 a.m. A light layer of navy hung over the crowd. Organizers and protesters from Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights wore green shirts and scarves in solidarity with the national abortion rights movement.

Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights organizer Olivia Dunston, 29, said the group is there to “help protect Planned Parenthood and everyone with wombs.”

“I’m nonviolent, so I’m not really looking for any kind of violence,” Dunston said.

Activists held up signs reading “Blood on Your Hands” with portraits of five conservative members of the Supreme Court; “We Are Not Incubators” and “I’m Not Part of Your Book Club” with a drawing of the Bible.

The group said it will try to get ahead of the tactics of the Proud Boys, a right-wing neo-fascist group that attended last week’s rally and was also expected at Saturday’s anti-abortion demonstration.

An activist named Megan, who did not reveal her full name, said she was concerned about threats of violence from anti-abortion activists.

“But that’s more important,” she said. “The matter is more important.”

The crowd arrived at Third Street Promenade just before 11:30 a.m. She was joined by another group of pro-abortion protesters, who increased their numbers to around 400 to 500 people. The air was filled with chants urging access to abortion.

There were a handful of anti-abortion protesters, including people in leather biker vests that read “Ride for Donald J. Trump” and a man with a loudspeaker and a large sign that read “Repent or Perish.” They declined to speak to the Times.

The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade has sparked hundreds of protests across the country since a draft advisory opinion was leaked in May.

Though the demonstrations were mostly peaceful, 11 turned violent, involving all Proud Boys participants, according to Roudabeh Kishi, director of research and innovation at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a nonprofit organization that tracks political violence and demonstrations.

Since the Supreme Court decision, nine states have banned abortion, and more are expected to follow in the coming weeks. The House of Representatives recently voted to restore abortion rights nationwide, but the bill has little chance of becoming law because it lacks the necessary support in the Senate.

Abortion remains legal in California, which has sought to cement its status as a reproductive safe haven. The state legislature approved a voting measure in June that will allow voters to decide in November whether to amend the state constitution to specifically protect a person’s right to an abortion.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also issued an executive order stating that California will not share medical records with anti-abortion states or extradite physicians treating patients seeking the procedure here.

Heidi Perez-Moreno, a Times contributor, contributed to this report. Abortion rallies center on Santa Monica Planned Parenthood

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