PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a nationwide movement, abortion rights activists across the country — including right here in the Portland metro — took their fight to the streets Saturday, in response to a leaked draft opinion that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade.
More than 1000 pro-choice activists rallied together in Portland, but even as the state has comprehensive reproductive laws in place, many say they’re also fighting for the women who may have to travel to the state for care. Around 300 people also held a rally in Vancouver.
“I think it’s a basic human right to have healthcare for women especially since these laws aren’t going to stop abortions from happening,” said Brittany Oxford, who attended the Portland rally.
Following the draft opinion that the Supreme Court could soon overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the activists took their message of “bans off our bodies” to downtown Portland in a community fight for nationwide abortion access.
“I was 17 when Roe v. Wade was passed,” said Jo Quinn, who attended the Portland rally. “I really can’t believe we’re in this same situation when so many years have passed.”
Oregon officials made their pleas to the public, voicing worries that Black, Indigenous and people of color will likely be hit the hardest.
“Those who can’t afford to miss work, travel to another state or pay for childcare, gas, those folks may be forced to continue unwanted pregnancies and we know that lack of access falls most heavily on those in our communities who do not have equal access to healthcare, generally,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Gov. Kate Brown reiterated Oregon will remain a “welcoming and safe place” for people seeking reproductive healthcare or abortions.
“Roe vs Wade has been the law of the land. Never, ever, in the history of the United States, have we had a constitutional right taken away from us,” Brown said. “Abortion is health care and abortion access is a fundamental right in Oregon.”
Officials added that while Oregon passed a law in 2017 that protects abortion rights in the state, that could change if Congress steps in following a potential Roe v. Wade overturn.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate failed to codify abortion rights on a 49-51 vote (with 60 votes needed to pass.)
“That protection, that Oregon state law, can be overridden by a national ban,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley. “Mitch McConnell has said if the court strikes down Roe v. Wade and Casey, he intends to have a nationwide ban on the floor, so November (election) is really going to matter.”
KOIN 6 News reached out to Oregon Right to Life, one of the state’s largest pro-life organizations. So far, they have not responded and there haven’t been any related posts on their social media.
Supreme Court justices have clarified that the document released is a draft opinion. However, an official decision is expected later in June.