Bay Area activists protest as Supreme Court justices weigh abortion ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments that could undo decades of precedent and impact a woman's right to choose.

Protests spanned the country from the steps of the Supreme Court to the streets of San Francisco. The protesters in the city had a message for the Supreme Court justices: to uphold and even expand abortion rights.

Demonstrators gathered at San Francisco's Burton Federal Building and Courthouse and called on the Supreme Court to preserve a woman's right to choose.

"Our inclusive demands are to protect and expand Roe v. Wade," said Kristina Lee from the group Radical Women. "Safe legal abortion on demand and without apology."

On Wednesday, the justices led arguments that could decide the fate of the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States and its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe.

The outcome probably won’t be known until next June. But after nearly two hours of arguments, all six conservative justices, including three appointed by former President Donald Trump, indicated they would uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Lara Bazelon, a law professor at the University of San Francisco, said this is a battle conservatives have been preparing for more than a generation.

"This was a day that conservatives have been waiting decades for," said Bazelon. "Probably since the dismantling of the Bork confirmation hearings. Abortion has been the nearest and dearest held cause of trust conservatives in this country and today I think they saw their dream about the be realized."

Professor said the court can take several paths forward, from overturning Roe v. Wade outright, to finding a narrower path.

"They could try to carve out a narrower path, where they hold that this particular law out of Mississippi which bans abortion after 15 weeks is constitutional, but then sort of drop the line at 15 weeks or some other demarcation point," said Bazelon.

The rally in San Francisco was just one of several similar protests around the Bay Area, including in Palo Alto and Berkeley.