Our Favorite Signs From the Nationwide ‘Bans Off’ Marches

best-abortion-signs-womens-march-bans-off-our-bodies
Protesters in Raleigh, N.C.; Austin, Texas; and Orlando, Fla., on May 14—two weeks after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

Over 1 million protesters gathered for marches across the country on Saturday to attend a national day of action in support of abortion and reproductive rights. Themed ‘Bans Off Our Bodies,’ the mobilization was a direct response to two cataclysmic events in the world of abortion:

When the Supreme Court’s final decision is issued before the end of the term (likely in June), it will represent the biggest blow to women’s constitutional rights in history. The anger, indignation and shock felt in America right now has reached a new peak—and it was on full display this weekend.


Many marchers’ signs made statements about their bodily autonomy.

best-abortion-signs-womens-march-bans-off-our-bodies
Protesters in Austin, Texas, on May 14. (Roxy Szal)
Protesters in Raleigh, N.C., on May 14. (Jenny Warburg)
Protesters in Raleigh, N.C. (Jenny Warburg)
Protesters in Raleigh, N.C. (Jenny Warburg)
In front of the Texas Capitol in Austin on May 14. (Roxy Szal)
A protester in Austin hearkens to Dr. Savita Halappanavar, who died from sepsis at the age of 31 in 2012 after Irish doctors denied her an abortion, even as she miscarried. Her death sparked outrage across Ireland. Six years after her death, voters agreed to remove the Republic of Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion. (Roxy Szal)

The status of abortion rights usually indicates the health (or lack thereof) of a country’s democracy—and many marchers called for a more healthy U.S. democracy.

A protester in Austin. (Roxy Szal)
Signs on display in Austin on May 14. (Madeline Rosenstein)
Protesters in Orlando, Fla. (Maureen Johanson / Twitter)

Demonstrators directed anger toward Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the leaked opinion, and the other four justices whose signatures appear alongside Alito’s.

Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
A protester’s pin in Washington, D.C., on May 14. (Cynthia Brumfield / Twitter)

Demonstrators made clear their disgust with Republican lawmakers who create and support anti-abortion laws.

At the state level, the states passing abortion bans are all GOP-led, and nationally, Senate Republicans blocked a bill last week that would have codified Roe into federal law.

A protester in Austin on May 14, 2022. In September 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law one of nation’s strictest abortion measures, banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. (Roxy Szal)
A protester in Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)

Some marchers’ signs made poignant (and funny) arguments about the war on reproductive anatomy, calling it a war on women.

A protester in Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
A protester in Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
A protester in Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
Madeline Rosenstein of Austin was one of many protesters who helped fellow attendees register to vote. (Roxy Szal)
A protester in Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
Two protesters in New York City. (Jennifer Weiss-Wolf)

Young women made clear: They’re paying attention too.

A protester in Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)
Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)

Those who grew up in the era of Roe expressed their shock at the rollback on constitutional rights.

A protester in Austin on May 14. (Roxy Szal)

A huge number of male abortion allies showed up this weekend, prompting a new hashtag: #MenAtTheMarch.

Ms.’s director of partnerships Jennifer Weiss-Wolf with fellow protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. (Courtesy of Weiss-Wolf)
Protesters in Austin, Texas. (Roxy Szal)

The midterm elections are the next battleground, demonstrators’ signs indicated.

Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether you yourself have had an abortion, or simply stand in solidarity with those who have—to let the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House know: We will not give up the right to safe, legal, accessible abortion.

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About

Roxy Szal is the digital editor at Ms. and a producer on the Ms. podcast "On the Issues With Michele Goodwin." Before becoming a journalist, she was a Texas public school English teacher. She is based in Austin, Texas. Find her on Twitter @roxyszal.