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Demonstrators in the Bay Area march, speak and act in response to leaked abortion opinion

People marched and rallied in the San Francisco Bay Area in support of reproductive rights and San Mateo County supervisors took action in favor of protecting abortion rights this weekend. 

People marched and rallied in the San Francisco Bay Area in support of reproductive rights and San Mateo County supervisors took action in favor of protecting abortion rights this weekend. 

The actions were in response to the leak earlier this month of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn the landmark 1973 abortion ruling Roe v. Wade. 

Ever since the leak, activists in the Bay Area have been responding with a variety of actions on both sides of the issue.

On Saturday, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa issued a statement following the Redwood City Council's requesting the county to create a buffer zone at the Planned Parenthood clinic in unincorporated Redwood City. The clinic falls under the jurisdiction of San Mateo County. 

"With a continuing assault on women's reproductive rights, we need to create 'Pro Choice Sanctuaries' and 'Buffer Zones' at abortion clinics to protect the privacy and rights of the women who are seeking reproductive patient care, even if they are coming from out of state," Canepa said. 

Canepa said he felt the county should work with cities to create buffer zones at every health care clinic in the county that provides reproductive health care. 

"We've seen an uptick of protests at clinics such as the Planned Parenthood located on 2907 El Camino Real on the edge of Redwood City. Therefore, I agree with the Redwood City Council that the county should create a buffer zone, "the supervisor said.

"No woman should be in fear of caring for her own body by seeking health care at these clinics," Canepa said.

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Celeste Melamed chants during the "Bans Off Our Bodies" rally in downtown Mountain View on May 14, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

On Friday, San Mateo County Dave Pine and Warren Slocum introduced a resolution pledging the "unwavering support" for a "women's freedom" to make her own reproductive choices.

“We cannot stand by and watch as the rights of women are eroded,” said Pine. “It is unconscionable that in 2022, we are again debating whether a woman should have control over her own reproductive decisions.”

The board will hear the resolution on Tuesday. 

In Mountainview demonstrators, took to the streets to make their voices heard.

Carrying signs and chanting, demonstrators gathered in downtown Mountain View on Saturday, May 14, for a "Bans Off Our Bodies" protest, objecting to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that guaranteed abortion rights. 

An estimated 200-300 protestors converged at the Mountain View Caltrain station and marched down Castro Street, chanting and making their way to all four corners of Castro and El Camino Real. Cars driving by honked their support as protestors cheered in return. Protestors carried signs with images of wire hangers and saying such as "abortion is healthcare" and "we are not ovary-acting." 

Victoria Armigo said that she was out protesting for her granddaughter's sake. She said that she had two abortions in her life, and her mother grew up in a time where women were the property of men. She wanted her granddaughter to have the same freedom of choice that she and her daughter had. 

"It makes all the difference if you can have a child when you're ready, and then you can be fully present and fully available and fully enthusiastic, and not pissed off," Armigo said. "We don't need pissed-off women raising the next generation." 

Barbara Weinstein shared a similar sentiment, conveying her anger about what she says is a lack of concern for children after they've been born. 

"Many of the people who are so vehement on this issue (have) an utter lack of care for what happens when children are born," Weinstein said. "That somehow that doesn't matter and that only matters before they're born. I think that's hideous." 

Several protestors wore green to pay tribute to the abortion rights movement in Argentina that was described as a "green tide." One such activist, Elisa Habra, said that she has been protesting for women's rights for years. 

"It's almost like I feel their hands going into my uterus," Habra said. "That's what it feels like, and it's probably feeling like that for a lot of women."

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Hundreds of demonstrators march down Castro Street during the "Bans Off Our Bodies" protest in Mountain View on May 14, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier

Rebecca McKenzie brought her daughter Eve McKenzie, age 9, to the demonstration because, as a physician and a mother, she believes that it's essential to use your voice. Eve carried a sign that said, "This is a free country and abortion is freedom."

"I think that (abortion) should be allowed," Eve said. "I came here because I think abortion is important, and I think it's part of healthcare, and if people aren't allowed to do it, we're going to find a way to do it, just not as safe, and if they're going to do it, then they should do it in a safe way."

Mountain View's demonstration was one of over 380 "Bans Off Our Bodies" protests held across the country Saturday to urge the Supreme Court not to overturn the nearly 50-year-old law. They were organized by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Women's March, and the Liberate Abortion Coalition, among others.

Embarcadero Media Photojournalist Magali Gauthier, Pulse Editor Michelle Iracheta and Bay City News contributed to this report.