Protesters gathered at the Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse in Albuquerque on May 3 in light of a leaked draft of a majority opinion from Politico written by Justice Samuel Alito that signifies the court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both landmark cases that provide constitutional protection for abortion in the U.S. under the doctrine of privacy granted by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The protests, one in front of the courthouse organized by the Party of Socialism and Liberation and one kitty-corner in front of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court organized by Planned Parenthood, were each attended by hundreds of people. Mud Sedillo, an organizer with PSL, said they are trained to be able to organize protests “on the dime” to get the word out quickly. Sedillo underscored the importance of getting more people involved with women’s rights issues. 

“More work needs to go into this. We need more people involved in the movement. This is a war on working-class women, restricting working-class women's basic right for family planning …  I think a lot of working-class women are going to seek abortions anyways despite the … abortion ban and that has dire consequences,” Sedillo said.



In 13 states there are “trigger laws” that are set to go into effect if Roe is overturned among these states are Texas, Oklahoma and Utah, all of which are in close proximity to New Mexico. One physician present at the protests, who wished to remain anonymous for this article, said that she is concerned for patients who will travel to New Mexico to receive care.

Nadia Marsh, a different physician who attended who works at the University of New Mexico Hospital, expressed frustration that judges appointed only for a lifetime get to decide lasting issues like these as well as other underlying prejudices behind the draft opinion.

“(It) was also very racist. I mean, people who are poor, won't be able to have any access whatsoever. So that's, you know, poor white people, and many black and Latino and other people of color, so there's also a racist component to this,” Marsh said. 

Others at the protests, including Ffox Hilton, a young transmasculine person, wanted to be sure that the movement would include trans voices that are all too often left out of the conversation.

“So If I were to get pregnant, there would be a ban on abortions (and) I would be stuck in a position with something that I really did not want because it would be dysphoria-inducing. So when when talking about the abortion bans, we really have to also keep in mind our trans folks in the community and widen our language to be people with uteruses,” Hilton said.

PSL protesters took to the streets and marched out to Central Avenue from the courthouse chanting various lines including, “Hey, ho the Supreme Court has got to go,” and, “Fuck the patriarchy.”

Many protesters, including Victoria Lavato-Montoya, voiced concerns over voting not being enough and having failed them, specifically noting how a Democrat is currently president and abortion rights are still being threatened. Others called for Democratic lawmakers in Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that just passed through the House that would prohibit the government’s ability to ban abortions or access to abortion services.

“This isn't just a right-wing issue. This is … our government trying to take away our rights as women, as people of color, as people who are impoverished. The people who aren't gonna suffer are the white people. They're not going to be the rich people. They're gonna be us, the working class. This is an intersectional issue. This is an issue between trans people … We cannot allow this to keep happening every single decade over and over again,” Lavato-Montoya said.

If the drafted opinion were to be adopted, it would serve as a ruling in favor of Mississippi in the Mississippi v. Jackson Women's Health Organizations case, a case which challenges whether or not a Mississippi law that bans almost all abortions after 15 weeks of gestational age is constituational. An article from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health out of the University of Southern California found that one in three people don’t confirm their pregnancies until after six weeks with one in five confirming past seven weeks.

The Alito draft opinion also goes as far as to suggest overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Together, these decisions would revoke any constitutional protection of the right to an abortion.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” Alito wrote.

While the draft opinion is not a decision, the Supreme Court does still hold a conservative majority. Overturning a decision is not common practice for the Supreme Court, only occurring a little over 200 times over the court’s roughly 230-year existence, according to Constitution Annotated. According to Lavato-Montoya, overturning decisions undermines the Supreme Court’s authority and the legitimacy of the rights guaranteed therein.

“I think that that system hasn't worked for years. Why would it start working now? The rights can be taken away over and over. If it can be taken away by a pupil in our Supreme Court. That's not true justice,” Lavato-Montoya said.

Madeline Pukite is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @maddogpukite