Abortion rights defenders fanned out across America yesterday for a second day of protest against the Supreme Court's thunderbolt ruling, as state after conservative state moved swiftly to ban the procedure.

The deeply polarised country grappled with a new level of division: between states that will now or soon deny the right to abortion, enshrined since 1973, and those that still allow it.

A few thousand people thronged the streets yesterday outside the fenced-off Supreme Court in Washington, in hot summer weather, carrying signs that read "War on women, who's next?" and "No uterus, No opinion."

Demonstrations also took place in Los Angeles, with dozens of smaller rallies from coast to coast.

At least eight right-leaning states imposed immediate bans on abortion - with a similar number to follow suit in coming weeks - after the Supreme Court eliminated 50-year-old constitutional protections for the procedure, drawing criticism from some of America's closest allies around the world.

Fueling the mobilisation, many now fear that the Supreme Court, with a clear conservative majority made possible by Donald Trump, might next set its sights on rights like same-sex marriage and contraception.

President Joe Biden - who has likewise voiced concerns the court might not stop at abortion - spoke out again yesterday against the "shocking decision."

"I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans," said the president, who has urged Congress to restore abortion protections as federal law, and vowed the issue would be on the ballot in November's midterm elections.

Women in states that severely restrict abortion or outlaw it altogether will either have to continue with their pregnancy, undergo a clandestine abortion, obtain abortion pills, or travel to another state where it remains legal.

"We are going to see some nightmare scenarios, sadly," President Biden's spokeswoman Karine Jean Pierre told reporters on Air Force One, as the president headed to Europe for Group of Seven and NATO summits.

"That is not hypothetical," she said.

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In Washington yesterday the scene was once again mostly peaceful - barring the odd shouting match between abortion rights advocates and opponents.

While Friday's ruling represents a victory in the religious right's struggle against abortion, the movement's ultimate goal is a nationwide ban.

That goal is now within sight in about two dozen states which are now expected to severely restrict or outright ban and criminalise abortions.

Missouri was first to ban the procedure on Friday, making no exception for rape or incest, joined as of yesterday morning by at least seven other states - Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah.

In Wisconsin, where an 1849 law banning abortion except when saving the life of the mother may go into effect, Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, vowed to offer clemency to any doctors who face prosecution, according to local media.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court tossed out the argument in Roe v. Wade that women had the right to abortion based on the constitutional right to privacy with regard to their own bodies.

Several Democratic-ruled states, anticipating an influx of patients, have already taken steps to facilitate abortion, and three of them - California, Oregon and Washington - issued a joint pledge to defend access in the wake of the court's decision.

Abortion providers said they had seen a surge in donations since the ruling, as they braced for the long hard road ahead.

"In the 24 hours following the court's devastating decision, Planned Parenthood ...saw a 40-fold total increase in donations compared to a typical day - more than half of whom are new donors," Kelley Robinson, vice president of advocacy at the largest abortion provider in the United States, said in a statement to AFP.

"This is just the beginning, and we won't back down," she said.