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White House calls for peaceful protests as Senate plans abortion vote this week

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White House calls for peaceful protests as Senate plans abortion vote this week

An abortion-rights activist is seen during a demonstration in Union Square in New York City on Saturday. Protests are expected to continue in the coming weeks until the Supreme Court issues its final decision on Roe vs. Wade, which will come in a decision for a Mississippi case against abortion that was argued before the high court in December. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 9 (UPI) — As demonstrators gather near the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., ahead of a scheduled vote in Congress on abortion rights this week, the White House is calling on activists to refrain from violence.

Thousands of demonstrators have showed up outside the high court since a leaked opinion a week ago that indicated the court is preparing to strike down Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

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On Monday, President Joe Biden cautioned against potential violence at demonstrations — particularly at those aimed at the Supreme Court justices themselves, saying that they must be allowed to do their jobs.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president believes that there should never be violence.

“[Biden] strongly believes in the constitutional right to protest,” Psaki said in a tweet Monday. “But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.”

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Biden’s call came after protesters rallied outside the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh over the weekend. Roberts and Kavanaugh are two of the court’s six conservative justices.

One protest organizer told WUSA-TV that plans are underway for a protest in front of Associate Justice Samuel Alito‘s home. It was Alito who wrote the opinion against Roe vs. Wade that was leaked by Politico a week ago.

Since the leak, abortion rights activists have expressed widespread concern about the effects of dismissing Roe vs. Wade, which would then leave it up to each individual state to determine whether abortion is legal, and to what extent.

Some Republicans in Congress have fumed about protests and suggested the possibility of violence. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, described the rallies as “mob violence.”

Over the weekend, there were a number of demonstrations nationwide on the issue of abortion and the possible dismissal of Roe vs. Wade — including in Houston; Chicago; San Jose, Calif.; Kansas City; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Oklahoma City and Orlando, Fla.

Protests are expected to continue in the coming weeks until the Supreme Court issues its final decision on Roe vs. Wade, which will come in a decision for a Mississippi case against abortion that was argued before the high court in December. The decision will come sometime before the court’s term expires in June.

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Democrats in Congress have said they are making efforts to safeguard legalized abortion, and will vote this week on a bill that would codify Roe vs. Wade into federal law, which would make it immune to any Supreme Court decision. The effort, however, is almost certain to fail because it would require 60 votes to pass in a chamber that has only 51 Democrats and Democratic-voting independents.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the chamber will vote this week on the bill — mainly as a public effort to demonstrate which senators support Roe vs. Wade and which do not.

“Senate Republicans will have to answer for everything they’ve done over the years to embolden the hard right’s hostility against a woman’s choice,” Schumer said on the Senate floor, according to CBS News.

“They will not be able to hide from the American people and cannot hide their role in bringing Roe to an end. The vote will tell … America will be watching.”

The term is the last for Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who was appointed to the bench by former President Bill Clinton in 1994. Once he retires at the end of June, he will be succeeded by Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is Biden’s first Supreme Court appointee and the first Black woman ever to ascend to the court.

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Demonstrators march on Supreme Court over abortion rights

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., joins abortion rights activists Tuesday outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the leak of a draft majority opinion suggesting the court would overturn Roe vs. Wade later this year. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

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