New York City cops are bracing for a long night Friday as protesters are already gathering in Manhattan in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
A draft of the decision from the conservative majority in the court leaked last month, giving activists a jump on organizing — and leading cops to prepare for the worst if demonstrations descend into violence.
Protesters had already announced that they’d gather in Manhattan’s Washington Square on whatever day the ruling became official.
In Washington Square Park around 1 p.m. Friday, 20 women were seen writing messages on picket signs before the planned protest at 6:30 p.m.
Organizers were urging marchers to “bring your rage.”
A day earlier, the group NYC for Abortion Rights had tweeted of the planned rally, “F–k SCOTUS, f–k the Church, f–k the state.
“We will aid and abet abortion.”
A second protest is set to be held in Manhattan’s Union Square.
The NYC for Abortion Rights Twitter account reposted advice from an organizer for the rallies that said participants should turn off their phones’ facial recognition and location services — and write the name of their lawyers on their arms.
“Wear a mask and cover any identifying markings (tattoos, birthmarks, etc.),” the post said.
In the event someone is arrested, get names of officers and badge numbers and film cops but not the protesters, the advice added.
The NYPD had already announced “enhanced patrols,” including at “abortion alternative clinics,” to thwart attacks from “extremists and malicious actors,” according to a memo sent by the department’s intelligence bureau Wednesday in anticipation of the ruling.
“Numerous acts of property destruction across the US necessitates heightened situational awareness for members of the service on protective deployments at related entities in New York City,” the memo states.
The exact locations where officers are expected to enhance patrols weren’t disclosed.
The SCOTUS ruling on Mississippi case Dobbs v. Jackson Woman’s Health doesn’t outlaw abortion but kicks back the decision to individual states. New York already has codified abortion access in the 2019 Reproductive Health Act.
The head of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York Action Fund said the Empire State will continue to serve as an “Abortion Access State for all New Yorkers and the rest of the country.”
“This is a profoundly dismal day for our country, but the fight is far from over,” interim president and CEO Joy Calloway said in a statement.
“Abortion justice demands that we fiercely fight to ensure equitable access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care — and abortion is health care.
“We will not compromise on our bodies, our dignity, or our freedom. We have strength in numbers and power in our united voices,” Calloway said.
Additional reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge