Women's Marches Bring Thousands To Washington, D.C., And Cities Nationwide Saturday's events drew thousands of demonstrators, mobilized in opposition to President Trump and the likely Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
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Women's Marches Bring Thousands To Washington, D.C., And Cities Nationwide

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Women's Marches Bring Thousands To Washington, D.C., And Cities Nationwide

Women's Marches Bring Thousands To Washington, D.C., And Cities Nationwide

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Barring a major surprise, Senate Republicans have the votes to confirm President Trump's nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to the U.S. Supreme Court, giving the court a solid conservative majority. And that was very much on the minds of women's rights activists who turned out in cities across the country this weekend, like Jenny Lawson of Planned Parenthood Votes, who addressed marchers in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

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JENNY LAWSON: It is not hyperbole to say that everything is on the line this November. We cannot afford four more years of this administration attacking our access to reproductive health care and rights.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: As NPR's Sarah McCammon reports, activists are trying to use their loss on the Barrett confirmation to drive votes on Election Day.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: For many of the younger women who turned out this weekend to oppose Judge Barrett's nomination, this could be a turning point they never imagined. Ashley Thomas is 25 and lives in Baltimore. She says she has friends living in countries where abortion is not permitted.

ASHLEY THOMAS: I hear horror stories from them all the time of people they know and, you know, what they've been through to get access to abortions. And it just - I never thought we'd see it here.

MCCAMMON: The Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide will turn 48 in a few months. That means that for many American women, there's never been a time when abortion was not legal. Deanne Adams is 52, born just a few years before Roe. She brought her 14-year-old daughter from their home in Maryland to the march.

DEANNE ADAMS: It's her rights and her future that are at stake. So it's really important that we all get out and show our voices and our strength.

MCCAMMON: Adams says she is worried about the future of reproductive rights for her daughter and others.

ADAMS: I think that a lot of our kids don't know how quickly something can be snatched from them.

MCCAMMON: With the Senate poised to confirm Barrett, activists are hoping to motivate voters like Adams to turn out in support of Democrats up and down the November ballot. That was the message at rallies across the country organized by the Women's March and other reproductive rights groups. In Washington, D.C., Planned Parenthood's Jenny Lawson said the only way to fight back against a rushed Supreme Court confirmation process is to vote.

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LAWSON: We are mobilizing voters today because Republican senators cannot keep their jobs when they steal Supreme Court seats while people are voting and while the election is happening.

MCCAMMON: But for Republicans, confirming Barrett means delivering on a key campaign promise from President Trump - to appoint conservative justices who would oppose abortion rights.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe V. Wade has got to go. Hey, hey, ho, ho...

MCCAMMON: After marching to the National Mall Saturday, abortion rights activists were met by groups who'd come to support Judge Barrett. Among them was Sara Brown, an 18-year-old college student from Richmond, Va. Brown said with Barrett's impending confirmation, she hopes to eventually see the end of Roe v. Wade.

SARA BROWN: It's been a long time coming, but still, the - like, we've been fighting for so long. I mean, I'm only 18. I've been a part of this movement for a few years, and so I don't know. It's very exciting and very hopeful for the future of this country.

MCCAMMON: Promising to overturn Roe may be an effective strategy for turning out the Republican base, but closing in on that promise could have a downside for Republicans. According to national polls, a majority of Americans believe Roe should remain in place, a message progressive activists are taking to voters looking ahead to November 3.

Sarah McCammon, NPR News, Washington.

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