NEW YORK (WABC) -- People protested across the Tri-State area and around the nation after a draft of a Supreme Court opinion shows the panel's conservative majority of justices is ready to overturn nearly 50 years of established abortion rights precedent since Roe v. Wade.
As soon as the story broke Monday night, people began gathering outside the Supreme Court, some sitting with candles, some chanting about the apparent author of the draft opinion, Justice Samuel Alito.
The court has confirmed the draft is authentic, but that it is not a final position.
However, the draft is enough to indicate where the court is headed.
Map of projected abortion access if Roe v. Wade is struck down:
This led to thousands of demonstrators filling Foley Square, blocking traffic on Lafayette Street in protest.
While the ruling isn't final yet, for many it feels like regression and taking away something that many had already fought for and thought was now a constitutional right.
New York Attorney General Letitia James spoke about her personal experience to a crowd of protesters.
"I came to this issue in a very personal way. I was in this place, I was just elected, and I was faced with a decision whether to have an abortion or not and I chose to have an abortion," she said.
WATCH | What will the reversal of Roe V. Wade mean for Americans?
"I think that it's very important for all of us to take a stand for women all over the country, especially in areas where it's a very real possibility that they'll be oppressed again," a protester said.
Twenty-six states are certain or likely to ban or severely restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Governor Kathy Hochul is now looking at legislation to strengthen laws in the state with the hopes of making New York a safe place for those coming from other states seeking abortion access.
"Sadly, while enraging, this news is hardly surprising," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said. "This court, stacked with Trump appointees, could not be trusted to protect women's reproductive rights."
Murphy called on Congress to pass federal legislation protecting a woman's reproductive rights.
"If that means reforming the filibuster, then we need to reform the filibuster," he said.
The still-pending final ruling has enraged a generation that grew up thinking access to safe and legal abortion was settled, and never imagined taking to the streets to secure what they were told was their constitutional right.
"New York City knows that a woman's right to make her own health care decisions is hers and hers alone," Mayor Eric Adams said on Twitter. "This potential assault on their freedom by right-wing extremists cannot stand. We're ready to fight like hell."
Some states had already been preparing for the potential that the high court could weaken or overturn Roe, including Connecticut, which recently passed legislation protecting abortion providers in their states from lawsuits.
Governor Ned Lamont on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to signing the first-in-the-nation bill to protect medical providers and patients.
"I am very appreciative to the majority of lawmakers in Connecticut who had the foresight to draft this legislation at a time when the right to a safe and legal abortion in America is in jeopardy," he said. "I am proud to stand up for access to reproductive healthcare and reproductive freedom. As long as I am governor of this great state, we'll never waiver on the right to choose, and the belief that medical decisions should be made between a patient and their doctor. As soon as this bill is transmitted to my office, I will sign it into law."
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts Submit a News Tip