Women's marches draw thousands on 50th anniversary of abortion verdict

Protesters demand return of protection for women's right to choose

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Abortion supporters rallied by the thousands on Sunday to demand protection for rights to abortion and mark the 50th anniversary of the now-overturned Roe v Wade US Supreme Court decision allowing the procedure.

Organisers said they were focusing on states after the Supreme Court's reversal of the verdict in June brought in abortion restrictions and near-total bans in more than a dozen states.

“We are going to where the fight is and that is at the state level,” reads the website for the Women's March.

The group has called this year's rallies “Bigger than Roe”.

The main march occurred in Madison, Wisconsin, where coming state Supreme Court elections could determine the balance of power and future of abortion rights in the state.

Abortions are banned in Wisconsin due to legal uncertainties faced by clinics.

Tens of thousands of anti-abortion activists descended on the National Mall in Washington on Friday to call for a nationwide ban on abortion.

The 50th annual March for Life event was the first to be held since the Supreme Court upended five decades of precedent and overturned Roe v Wade, which protected the right to abortion.

The court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson now leaves it up to states to decide whether or not women will have the right to the procedure.

Abortion rights supporters display banners as they gather in the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison on Sunday. AP

Other large marches took place in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

The Women’s March has become a regular event with millions turning out in the US and around the world the day after the January 2017 inauguration of then president Donald Trump.

Mr Trump made appointing conservative judges a mission of his presidency.

The three conservative justices he appointed to the US Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — all voted to overturn Roe v Wade.

Mr Kavanaugh and Ms Barrett said that they would protect the law in confirmations hearings.

AP contributed to this report

Updated: January 22, 2023, 11:41 PM