Cal Anderson packed, thousands rally in support of abortion rights

Thousands joined a rally in Cal Anderson Park to support abortion rights Saturday. Organizers had expected around 4,000 people to attend, but the number exceeded those expectations.

The massive crowd stood in solidarity with other groups nationwide, calling to protect a person's right to access to abortion.

"Today people are coming out all across the country and right here in Seattle," said Courtney Normand, Washington State Director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. 

Normand said people at the rally wanted to send a strong message: ‘Bans off our Bodies.’

"People are really outraged to hear what the Supreme Court is poised to do this year," Normand said. "They are going to very likely overturn our constitutional right to an abortion in this country."

Normand said 26 states are poised to ban abortion on the heels of that decision once it comes out.

"The result of that is 36 million American women and people that can become pregnant losing access to this most basic fundamental healthcare," said Normand.

She said Planned Parenthood organized rallies in every state, but there were many more grassroots rallies that were taking place Saturday, including at least a dozen others in Washington.

"The vast amount of people strongly support abortion rights. This will be the first time that a constitutional right is taken away in our nation’s history, and that’s outrageous," said Normand. 

"I think people are feeling pretty activated and I think people, maybe didn’t think this moment could ever come," said Sarah Prager, an OB-GYN.

"Roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, and overturning it is really an unprecedented move by the Supreme Court. I do not think that people who aren’t in the movement and who aren’t doing this work every day thought that this day would ever come," said Prager.

Prager said without access to abortion, there will be an increase in maternal morbidity and mortality.

"This really takes that choice to be healthy and safe away from people," said Prager.

"We need to codify Roe v. Wade and be done with, once and for all, the back and forth, depending on who’s in office, we may not have the same rights that we have today, tomorrow," said Chris, a rally attendee who did not want to give a last name.

Chris said the right to medical privacy is also in jeopardy.

"Not a lot of people talk about the precedent that Roe v. Wade also set for medical privacy for everyone. So, I created this sign to help people think about that aspect," Chris said.

Organizers say it's only the beginning of a larger movement.

RELATED: Thousands rally for abortion rights across Puget Sound, joining a nationwide day of action

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"From here it’s about organizing and building up our power, to take it to the elections, to make sure when we have elected leaders in our state they are people that will stand up for those values and protecting our most basic rights," said Normand.

"I think people are angry, and I think people are going to stand up and fight for their human right to have health care and to have bodily autonomy," said Prager.