The Women's March Foundation said it received more than 50,000 signups for the "Bans Off Our Bodies'' rally, which began at 10 a.m. outside Los Angeles City Hall. Video from AIR7 HD showed a massive crowd gathering as speakers began taking to the stage.
Among those scheduled to speak were Mayor Eric Garcetti; Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California; Reps. Karen Bass and Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles; attorney Gloria Allred; state Sen. Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles; Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles president and CEO Sue Dunlap and actors Ricki Lake, Lisa Ann Walter and Christine Lahti.
"Wealthy women and well-connected women will have the resources to travel to another state to have an abortion, while women of color, poor women of color across this country, are going to suffer and are going to die as a consequence," Martinez said, describing the potential effects should the court overturn Roe v. Wade. "Women of color have limited access to resources and cannot afford to take one day out of work to go have a procedure in another
"L.A. is for women, and we are a sanctuary," Garcetti said.
The rally, which has been planned for months, gained a new sense of urgency at the beginning of May following a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that revealed the court privately voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Rallies were planned across the U.S., including several locally:
-- at Pasadena City Hall at 8 a.m.;
-- at Harvey Milk Promenade Park in Long Beach at 10 a.m.;
-- at Malaga Cove Plaza in Palos Verdes Estates at 10 a.m.;
-- Sherman Oaks Galleria at 10 a.m.;
-- at Foothill and North Indian Hill boulevards in Claremont at 1 p.m.;
-- at the base of Green Pier in Avalon at 10 a.m.
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In Orange County, organizers are expecting between 4,000-5,000 attendees at a 10 a.m. rally at Centennial Park in Santa Ana. Speakers will include Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine.
The group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights has protest rallies scheduled for 41 U.S. cities, including two in Los Angeles, and one in Orange County.
In each case the Rise Up rallies will include a march to join "Bans Off Our Bodies'' events nearby.
The Rise Up rallies were set for:
-- U.S. Courthouse in DTLA at 9 a.m.
-- Centennial Regional Park in Santa Ana at 9:30 a.m.
-- Venice Beach at noon.
City News Service contributed to this report.