Queens lawmaker holds impromptu abortion rights rally in Long Island City

abortion rights
Western Queens community rallies in support of abortion rights after leaked U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion revealed a preliminary decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. (Photo by Kevin Kiprovski)

About 30 community members gathered for a rally organized by Councilwoman Julie Won on Tuesday, May 3, to support abortion rights and denounce the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion, which would overturn Roe v. Wade.

The rally at Lou Loudati Park in Long Island City was organized within an hour, bringing together local families that were not able to make it to the larger rally at Foley Square in Manhattan. Won said this was an opportunity to make their values known as a community.

“After having a baby, I am more pro-choice than ever before,” Won said. “It is not because I don’t love my baby or love being a mom, but because what women go through to give birth, vaginal or C-section, is so traumatic and invasive; women deserve to choose to go through it. Every woman should have access to have a healthy, safe delivery or abortion.”

Won was more than seven months pregnant when she was sworn into office in January and gave birth to her son this past March.

“The women who will bear the consequences of Roe v. Wade being overturned will be working-class women, especially BIPOC women who won’t be able to travel across state lines to receive care. What is argued to be a lifesaving measure will lead to many lives lost and health risks due to desperation.”

Politico first reported the leaked draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, revealing the court’s preliminary decision repudiating the rulings made in Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — two cases that have established a woman’s right to abortion before viability based on the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

This decision, however, is not final, but the public has quickly assumed the draft opinion is a solid indication of the court’s last word — which would overturn a precedent upheld for nearly half a century — expected to be published in early summer. 

Many Queens leaders were unflinching while voicing their disgust in this draft opinion. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said the Supreme Court displayed “heartless cruelty.”

“After years of Republican-led efforts to callously limit abortion services in direct violation of Roe v. Wade in states like Texas and Mississippi, tens of millions of people who seek the simple, yet fundamental human right to body autonomy will soon see their own reproductive systems under government control,” Richards said. “Tonight, I’m thinking of the millions of lower-income communities and communities of color who have historically lacked equitable abortion access and will be hit the hardest by this potential ruling.”

Though New York state codified the abortion rights established in Roe v. Wade in the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, Richards advocated for city and state leaders to further ensure equitable abortion access. He also called on the Biden administration and Congress to immediately make the protections in Roe federal law.

Richards will be holding a rally in support of abortion rights Thursday, May 5, at 6 p.m. on the steps of Queens Borough Hall. Richards plans to stand alongside reproductive justice leaders, gender equity advocates and other elected officials.