#AbortionIsEssential: A Rally in Pictures

“Do not criminalize me,” Congresswoman Jayapal said fiercely into the microphone. Although her voice wavered, the strength of the statement could not have been clearer to those of us cheering her on, as we simultaneously absorbed its sobering truth. Rep. Jayapal joins the one-in-four people across the country who have had an abortion, yet the right to access abortion is under attack once again.

So, humanists showed up, as we always do. It was cold and bright yesterday morning on the steps of the Supreme Court, where we were joined by hundreds of people who traveled from across the country to express their support for abortion rights, access, and justice. Inside, litigators representing the State of Mississippi and Jackson Women’s Health Organization argued the case.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is unprecedented, making it incredibly scary. Nearly 50 years ago, the right to abortion was codified in Roe v. Wade, and never since has the Supreme Court taken up a case that would threaten that right so completely as it is now doing. The court was asked to decide on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, but the musings from the court’s newest associate justices during oral arguments suggested what many of us have feared: that they will use this case as an opportunity to completely gut Roe.

Today, I’m not going to dive into the many possibilities of how Roe may be protected, curtailed, eroded, or gutted, or what it means for reproductive rights, racial justice, economic justice, or LGBTQ justice. Instead, I’m going to share a few of the photos from the rally, with the hope that they convey the urgency, the precariousness, and the hope of the moment.

High school students bussed in by the anti-abortion organizers on their way to the rally.

A cross in front of a “secular pro-life” banner. One anti-abortion speaker started her speech with, “I was a liberal atheist prochoicer…”

Pro-woman, pro-science, pro-life, and pro-hell?

The crowd was dense where the Christian hate group set up on “our side” of the rally. They intentionally would get incredibly close to us, incessently whispering that we were whores or maggots under god’s wrath.

Balloons kept us motivated early in the morning before the sun came up over the court.

Clinic escort, Marie, with the Midwest Support Fund, showed up early to battle the cold and anti-abortion rhetoric.

Creative signage to keep us on message and joyful.

Kenya Martin, aka the Abortion Diva and a storyteller, kicking us off with her story and a call that it’s on all of us to liberate abortion.

Pro-choice demonstrators blocking the signs of Christian extremists who had positioned themselves on our side of the barrier.

Congresswoman Jayapal at the mic.

A bit of satanic humor was fortifying in a sea of hateful Christian extremists.


Friends from the National Center for Jewish Women out early.

Everyone on the #abortionisessential side wore their masks.

The barrier separating most of the crowd. Pro-choice activists on the left, anti-abortion activists on the right.

Founder of Sister Reach, Cherisse Scott, making it clear from the podium that restricting abortion is about maintaining “whiteness by any means necessary.”

Capitol Police stand at the edge of the rally.

Members of Congress march to the steps of the Court to show their support.

Babies and pups add a bit of joy to a rough day (from the sidelines of course).