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Tens of thousands rally for abortion rights in U.S. cities

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Pro-choice protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge for a' Bans Off Our Bodies' march in New York City on Saturday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/5643f33a6d606f7a158b223998f696bf/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Pro-choice protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge for a' Bans Off Our Bodies' march in New York City on Saturday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 14 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of protesters rallied for abortion rights in cities across the United States on Saturday, two weeks after a draft opinion from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked.

Nearly 400 demonstrations across the United States were organized under the "Bans Off Our Bodies" banner by groups including the Women's March, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Ultraviolent, MoveOn, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

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In New York, videos posted to social media showed thousands of protesters outside courts in Federal Plaza in the civic center neighborhood of Manhattan while chanting: "Bans off our bodies!"

Protesters also marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of the right to obtain an abortion.

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Cyndi Lauper, the Grammy-award-winning singer, posted a picture to Instagram with actress Laura Dern from the protest in which she held a sign reading "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-damental Rights," a play off her 1983 chart-topper.

A permit for the protest in Washington D.C. obtained by USA Today showed that more than 15,000 people were expected to attend that march.

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Organizers told the outlet that protesters were encouraged not to engage with counter-protesters from conservative groups.

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"We're also educating folks who are attending our events about not engaging, staying focused on what our message is," UltraViolet organizer Sonja Spoo told USA Today.

"No one is going to win any hearts and minds by arguing back and forth across the picket line."

One woman at the march in Washington told MSNBC that she had a "back-alley abortion" in Mexico when she was 13 years old."It was the worst experience of my life, and I can't believe we're going back to this," she said.

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In Fort Myers, Fla., members of the hate group Proud Boys were filmed with megaphones antagonizing and laughing at women as they marched.

In Sarasota, one protester was pictured wearing a costume from The Handmaid's Tale, the television series based on the Margaret Atwood novel about a Christian fundamentalist regime that rules over women in a dystopian version of the United States.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that just 8% of Americans think that abortions should be illegal in all cases, with most people believing abortion should be legal.

RELATED Senate votes against codifying Roe vs. Wade in federal law

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its formal ruling in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization by the end of June, overturning the historic precedent established by Roe v. Wade which legalized abortions at the federal level.

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The U.S. Senate voted against codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law on Wednesday, as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted with Republicans to block the legislation.

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