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Capitol Hill hosts abortion rights rally on 50-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade

50 years to the day after Roe v. Wade and six months after it was overturned, activists from across Washington filled the streets of Capitol Hill.

SEATTLE — Fifty years ago Sunday, on January 22, 1973, the nation's highest court issued its landmark decision on Roe v. Wade that acknowledged abortion as a fundamental right.

That's why, on the anniversary of this landmark decision and six months after it was overturned, activists from across Washington filled the streets of Capitol Hill to voice a common message: to bring back abortion rights nationally.

In a rally organized in part by Puget Sound Mobilization for Reproductive Justice, demonstrators chanted and rallied, shouting such phrases as, "Rage, reflection, but most of all, action!"

An estimated 250 women and men from various parts of Washington gathered to march the streets of Capitol Hill near Seattle University's campus.

"My wish is that Roe v. Wade goes back into action," said Laila Murphy, a high school sophomore from Olympia who attended the rally with her school's Feminist Club.

"Not the church! Not the state! People will decide our fate," shouted the marchers.

One pair of friends said they drove the hour-and-a-half from Bellingham to be at the rally.

"This shouldn't be something that we're fighting for now. We should be fighting for more things and more advances," said Afrodita Castaneda, a rallygoer.

"We're not going back! We're not going back," Castaneda shouted in protest as she marched down the street.

She added, "I will not go quietly back to the 1950s."

Even though it's been only half a year since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Murphy said, "so many women are being impacted by this in just six months."

Abortion rights are protected in the state of Washington; still, a demonstrator with a megaphone shouted for national action.

"We must fight for legal abortion on demand and without apology everywhere and for everyone," said one protester.

One woman named Kayla, a transplant to Washington who grew up in another state where abortion is illegal in most cases, told us she chose to attend because she "[loves] women's rights." Kayla preferred not to share her last name.

Kaula said she helped an acquaintance from school who got pregnant. She said she had called clinics in seven different states to try and schedule an abortion quickly.

"And Washington state ended up being the only one she could get to in the month of November," said Kayla. "She had called like November 2 or 3. And, so yeah, she asked me if they had people here to just walk with you inside, and make sure you're not being harassed... and I was like, 'Absolutely, there's someone here, and it's me. It's me. It's me.'"

Other rallygoers expressed their desire to work together as women who shared a stance on the topic.

"We can make a difference when we all come together," said Alex Miller, a marcher.

"What do we want?" shouted a demonstrator. "Abortion rights," shouted the crowd.

"When do want them?"

"Now," responded the rallygoers.

Puget Sound Mobilization's rally comes just two days after abortion opponents gathered by the thousands in Washington, D.C. for a 50th annual March for Life rally.

The rally was the first large-scale event to be held since Roe V. Wade's defeat, and in a post-Roe world, attendees pushed for more support of pregnancy resource centers across the nation.

Despite the high court overturning roe last year, march organizers say their work isn't done.

"Friends, over the course of the past 50 years, the March for Life has become the largest human rights demonstration worldwide, and while the march began as a response to Roe, we don't end as a response to Roe being overturned. Why? Because we're not yet done," said Jeannie Mancini, president of March for Life.

This year's theme for the March was, "Next steps: Marching into a post-Roe America." 

The march originally started in the 1970s as a way to protest the landmark decision.

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