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Scenes from the Roe v. Wade rally for abortion rights in Providence

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the State House to protest the US Supreme court’s apparent decision to overturn the 1973 landmark case about abortion rights

Images in support of reproductive rights were projected onto a black hot-air balloon and onto the Rhode Island State House during a rally for Roe v. Wade Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The message on the balloon reads: “3 in 10 women will have an abortion in her lifetime.”Carlos Muñoz

PROVIDENCE — Hundreds of people crowded in front of the Rhode Island State House Tuesday night in protest after a draft majority opinion leaked to the public Monday showed the US Supreme Court preparing to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protects women’s right to an abortion.

College students raised signs, abortion providers marched up the hill to the State House’s stairs wearing their white coats, and women who said they came of age when abortion was still illegal throughout the US were in the crowd. They cheered on speakers, like Tammy Brown, a board member of The Womxn Project, who called on Governor Dan McKee to submit a budget amendment that would use the state’s Medicaid program to cover abortions.


“You have his ear,” Brown said to Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, another one of the speakers. “You can’t just stand here,” she said, adding: “the time to act is now.”

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who is running for Governor this year, said as a mother of three children, she is “deeply saddened and frightened for their future.”

“Abortion is on the ballot. Here in Rhode Island, and across the country,” said Gorbea, who encouraged attendees to vote for those with “proven track records of protecting reproductive rights.”

Brown University medical students attend a rally to protest the news that the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at the Statehouse in Providence, R.I. David Goldman/Associated Press

Another political candidate, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who is running for Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District, said it was time for Rhode Island to pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, which would allow the state’s Medicaid program to cover abortions.

“The far right of this country has been working toward this for years,” said Magaziner of the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade.

The EACA’s sponsors, Representative Liana Cassar and Senator Bridget Valverde, both Democrats, said they know the governor is in full support of the EACA, and that it’s up to Senate and House leadership to pass the bill in the General Assembly.


“Every Rhode Islander deserves access to abortion,” said Cassar. “There’s just a little bit more work to do. And we can get it done this year.”

Phrases including “Controlling my body, controlling my future,” were projected onto the State House’s marble facade, behind the speakers. A black hot air balloon was inflated off to the side, and a portrait of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a fierce advocate of abortion rights, was projected on to it.

“I don’t think any of us here want to be here.. But we knew this was coming. And it’s much worse than what I tried not to think about,” said State Representative Rebecca Kislak into a microphone. “This [leaked Supreme Court opinion] is a map for overturning opinions that are really important for us.”

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz. Carlos Muñoz can be reached at Follow him @ReadCarlos and on Instagram @Carlosbrknews.