Activists Rally for Abortion Rights at Foley Square

Activists at Foley Square on May 3.
Donna Aceto

Thousands of people packed into Foley Square on May 3 to stand up for reproductive freedom after a leak of a Supreme Court draft decision revealed that the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Activists and speakers at the demonstration spoke of the broader fight for reproductive rights and invoked their own deeply personal experiences with abortion. State Attorney General Letitia James informed the crowd of New York State’s efforts to establish a fund for both abortions and costs associated with travel to assist out-of-state residents who hail from states that have already imposed restrictions or plan to curtail abortion rights in the aftermath of a final court ruling.

James also announced that she received an abortion following her first election to the City Council. “No apologies,” she said.

State Attorney General Letitia James reveals her own experience with abortion.Donna Aceto

Among those in attendance at the demonstration included LGBTQ activists, allies, and leaders — and Trans Flags waved in the background. Beverly Tillery, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, also delivered remarks, and members of ACT UP were on hand. Many lawmakers were also there, including members of the City Council’s LGBTQ Caucus.

The atmosphere at Foley Square was filled with raw emotion. Several individuals in attendance were crying — and the crowd consisted of people from different generations and backgrounds.

One of the women holding a sign was Angela Fremont, who had an abortion in Alabama more than five decades ago, prior to Roe v. Wade. Fremont’s sign, held high in the air, included the hashtag #NeverAgain.

Many signs on display at the protest emphasized bodily autonomy as well as the connection between abortion rights and healthcare. One colorful sign said, “My Body, My Choice,” while another one noted, “You can’t ban abortion. You can only ban safe abortions.”

In addition to the action at Foley Square, demonstrations popped up in other parts of the city, including in Brooklyn, where protesters made their voices heard at Barclays Center.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams is flanked by government officials including Councilmembers Crystal Hudson, Chi Ossé, Erik Bottcher, and Lincoln Restler; State Director of Operations Kathryn Garcia; and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.Donna Aceto
NYC Anti-Violence Project executive director Beverly Tillery also said she had an abortion.Donna Aceto
Angela Fremont also brought her own personal story to Foley Square.Donna Aceto
Betsy Malcolm — loud, clear, and colorful!Donna Aceto
Restrictions on abortion rights won’t make the issue go away.Donna Aceto
ACT UP veteran Jim Eigo stands in solidarity.Donna Aceto
Abortion rights activism against the backdrop of the Trans Flag.Donna Aceto
Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative wing are at the center of the leaked draft decision.Donna Aceto