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Day 3 of women's rights protests underway in Cleveland

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Posted at 11:31 AM, Jun 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-26 11:47:17-04

CLEVELAND  — For the third day in a row, protesters are in Downtown Cleveland to protest the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.

You can watch the protest in the player below:

Around 11 a.m., protesters rallied in the 600 block of Lakeside Avenue.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb released the following statement on the protests:

"The City of Cleveland continues to support our citizens’ First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful, lawful demonstration. Over the last two days, there have been multiple demonstrations in and around downtown Cleveland, with more scheduled for today.

I understand and feel the anger caused by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This is a ruthless attack on women and their reproductive rights and an insult to our predecessors who fought so hard to protect these rights.

I ask that you continue to protest peacefully. We cannot let actions of frustration minimize the fight for our freedoms.

As mayor, I want to reassure you that I am determined to mobilize every resource and legal mechanism within my power to protect women's safety, health, and right to choose.

The Cleveland Division of Police has detailed personnel and resources to each of the demonstrations in order to ensure that participants and members of the general public remain safe. At this time, there have been no arrests associated with the activity.

Please stay safe."

Roe v Wade overturned
On Friday, Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years in a decision by its conservative majority to overturn Roe v. Wade. Friday's outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

The decision, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.

The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.

It puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored preserving Roe, according to opinion polls.

President Joe Biden said Saturday that his administration is focused on seeing how states implement their restrictions.

“The decision is implemented by states; my administration is going to focus on how they administer it and whether or not they violate other laws by deciding to not let women cross state lines to get public health services,” Biden said before signing a major gun reform package. “We are going to take actions to protect women’s rights and reproductive health.”

RELATED: Biden says feds will protect women seeking out-of-state abortions

Anti-abortion advocates react
Others in Northeast Ohio were optimistic about the Friday decision. Joseph Meissner of Lawyers for Life has been fighting to overturn Roe V. Wade since 1973 and said the state now has an opportunity to change course.

“It’s a celebration that human lives are supposed to be protected by law. If that happens, then we should celebrate. By the way, the celebration goes on, on and on for years and years into the future, ensuring women get the help they need so they don’t feel forced into an abortion,” Meissner said.

He and others believe the emphasis now should be supporting pregnancy centers and adoption.

At a Saturday event, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) told News 5, "Most Americans, certainly most Ohioans, do believe that life is precious and do believe that we should more to avoid abortions. That’s why I strongly support adoption, why I strongly support preventative measures, strongly support helping women who are in a very difficult decision with a pregnancy.”

On Friday, the Ohio Attorney General announced a court injunction had been dissolved and a six-week abortion ban bill is now law in the state. It prohibits most abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy.

Related: Ohio AG says six-week abortion ban bill is law

Saturday, Democratic lawmakers appealed to demonstrators to vote and help elect abortion advocates to the Ohio statehouse.

“What I’m going to be working on is getting Democrats into the Governor’s office and getting folks all the way down the ticket to be able to bring our voice all the way to the statehouse,” said State Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-district 23).

Many on both sides of the debate believe the conversation is unlikely to end anytime soon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.