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Abortion Rights Advocates Holding Rallies And Marches Across United States; Three Key Bridges Blown Up As Russia Retreats, Ukraine Advances; Parents Scramble Across The U.S. As Baby Formula Milk Shortage Worsens; TSA Apologizes To Mom, Clarifies Breast Milk Policy After Airport Security Incident Goes Viral; CDC Investigates Hundreds Of Mysterious Hepatitis Cases In Kids. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired May 14, 2022 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST (on camera): Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. All right, we begin today with rallies planned coast to coast marking a day of action for abortion rights.
Hundreds of 1000s of people are expected to take part in over 200 events across all 50 states. The rallies are in response to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion, revealing a majority of justices poised to strike down Roe v. Wade.
If overturn, constitutional protections for abortion rights would be likely eliminated in 26 states. We have reporters covering this in several key cities today.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live for us in the nation's capital. Polo Sandoval is covering the event in New York, and Nadia Romero is live for us in Atlanta.
So, let's go to the nation's capital. Shimon, let's begin with you. And the rally began just near the Washington Monument, there your -- there on the malls. Later, protesters will be marching to the U.S. Supreme Court. Tell us what you're seeing right now.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN'S CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (on camera): Yes. So, that is the expectation that at around 2:00, the 1000s of people who are expected here -- they are permitted for about 17,000 people.
At around 2:00, they are expected to march to the Supreme Court. But right now, what is going to take place here this morning, starting here shortly are speakers. Speakers are going to take the stage.
And we're seeing people from all across the country here. This morning, I was talking to people who traveled here from Seattle, from New Mexico. All saying that it was very important to be at this location for them. And as I take you through the crowd, you can see many of the people here holding signs as they await some of the speakers and just have traveled from all over the country to come here. And now they're all gathering here. They say it was important for them to be here. A lot of them bringing families, their kids. We're seeing younger folks, and older folks, and men, and all sorts of people from all across the country really saying that it is important for them to be here.
And as you can see behind me here, there are more families here gathered. Everyone here really right now say how important it was for them to be here to voice their feelings and their opinions on this leak draft and the potential that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe, significant for them obviously, and that is why they are here.
And then, as I said, at around 2:00, the 1000s who will be gathered here will start marching towards the Supreme Court.
WHITFIELD: All right. Shimon, will check back with you. Thanks so much. Let's go north now to New York. Polo Sandoval is there. It looks like a pretty sizable crowd where you are as well.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It is indeed, Fred, here in Brooklyn. This will be actually a mobile protests that will get moving hopefully in the next hour according to organizers.
And as you look over a large crowd here at a park in Brooklyn, you can see just a number of participants. So, we expect also many people traveling here from the region.
The plan here is to get mobile very soon hear. Basically, these protests, is expected to march over the Brooklyn Bridge, and then, assemble in lower Manhattan.
We'll likely hear from speakers just like what we saw from our colleague, Shimon earlier. So, we saw some preview from our colleague, Shimon. The key here, though, especially for some of the folks who are participating is not just really taking the stand against that opinion expressed in the leaked SCOTUS memo, but also standing in solidarity with women in other states that are traditionally not pro-choice.
So, I think that that's the kind of message that you can expect to hear today for various groups that are coming together, including Planned Parenthood organizing this large event.
Again, especially the largest protests among many throughout the country today. Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much. Polo Sandoval in New York. Let's head south now to Atlanta, where we find Nadia Romero. So, Nadia, people are starting to assemble, what's the expectation there?
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, and is what a difference from the last time we spoke about an hour ago, Fred. Many more people are showing up here.
And this day of action organized by about 12 or so organizations here in the southeast. They're expecting some 3,000 people to show up.
ROMERO (voice-over): And you can see that they're gathered here ready for this event to start with different signs. People have traveled all across the state of Georgia to be here today.
You know, the southeast has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. And we've heard over the past couple of weeks that many people thought Roe v. Wade was settled law, but that has never been the case here in the South East.
ROMERO: Texas has its heartbeat bill. Mississippi with their 15-week abortion ban that now sits before the Supreme Court. Those states really helping Republican-led Republican legislatures across the country rewrite their abortion laws.
And so, the goal here when I speak with organizers is to explain to people where they can still access legal safe abortion here in the southeast. And to dispel a lot of those myths and the misinformation we're seeing on social media and online about what happens next if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUREN FRAZIER, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: If Roe v Wade is overturned, or if the protections set forth by Roe v. Wade are severely gutted, the power to decide abortion policy returns to the individual states.
And I want folks to know what that really means. It means that we have the power to remove any anti-health politician from their seats, we have the power to ensure that we elect reproductive health champions to those seats to keep our rights intact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMERO (on camera): And so, there is a big push at this rally as well for voter registration, especially for younger people who will turn the right age, 18 to vote, by the time the midterms go around.
And they're talking about local state and federal elections, how important those elections will be, especially if you believe in reproductive rights, as many people here do, Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Nadia and everyone. And we'll continue to check back with you and dot the map to all of these cities where the rallies are taking place.
All right, right now, I want to bring in Rachel O'Leary Carmona for more on this. She is the executive director and chief operating officer at Women's March.
There you are. I hear you. She's joining us from Washington, D.C.
RACHEL O'LEARY CARMONA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WOMEN'S MARCH: Hi. WHITFIELD: All right. Hey, Rachel, I know you got your hands full being the organizer, and then people starting to, you know, show up there, they're on the nation's mall. They're there between the monument and the US Supreme Court. So talk to me about, you know, what you are seeing there? The turnout? What's your expectation for today? What are you hoping for? What's your message?
CARMONA: Yes, we are in a big spot. And there's a lot of people and we are about to get started soon. And, you know, our turnout is about the we're expecting in the 1000s, and the 10s of 1000s here in D.C. 450 marches all across the country. And our message is very simple, very clear, one unifying demand across the country, which is keep your bands off of our bodies.
WHITFIELD: Now, who are you hoping the audience is? I mean, talk to me about the significance of being able to get the kind of turnout of 100s of 1000s across the country. Is it the US Supreme Court? Is it the attention of those justices you want?
Is it Congress? Isn't your state legislature, slate legislators? Are they families? Talk to me about the audience, you're hoping is going to receive the message from these rallies today?
CARMONA: Yes, thank you for that question. Because I think it's so important to realize that the folks that come to these rallies and marches, and the folks who even plan them.
80 percent of these people are folks that have not been active before and are getting active now. And so, the folks that are here across the country, raising our voices together, were just everyday people who are here in the outrage at the leaked SCOTUS decision. And we are wanting to tell, you know, the folks who claim to fight for us, the folks who claim to govern, to step into your role and to protect folks, because 80 percent of the people in this country do not support Roe v. Wade being overturned.
And so, what we want to stop is this anti-democratic slide that we see present in our government, in our Supreme Court that has been become increasingly politicized. You know, and in -- and in local and state governments all across the country.
So, you know, that's what we're trying to do today. And also, it's not just one day. So, today, it's about rallying, it's about raising our voices. It's about taking to the streets. But this is just kicking off a summer of weeks and months of action, because we're going to be here fighting for as long as it takes.
WHITFIELD: And Rachel, what is it you envision, if indeed, Roe v. Wade were overturned?
CARMONA: If Roe v. Wade will be overturned, then, the things that some people already experienced, particularly in communities of color and poor communities, we just had abortions are not accessible, they are expensive. They're -- not doctors available, and you are forced into a decision where you don't choose when and how to have a family. And so, what we are fighting for today is precisely that choice. Women and other folks need to be able to choose when and how to have a family and to make that decision within their loved ones and with their doctor.
The government does not belong in private decisions with private citizens.
So, Americans remain broadly opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade. This decision that legalized abortion nationwide. And according to the latest CNN poll, 66 percent say it should not be completely struck down, 59 percent would support Congress passing legislation to establish a nationwide right to abortion.
WHITFIELD: Is it your hope that as a result of the turnout today, that this might in some way impact what has been a leaked draft opinion, that perhaps it will impact it, influence it before a final decision is rendered?
CARMONA: Listen, it's hard to say what's going on with the Supreme Court right now. This leak is highly irregular, you've got a Supreme Court justice, whose wife, you know, helped to plan aspects of the rally that led to the insurrection. You've got two Supreme Court justices whose, you know, confirmations were so highly irregular.
So, you know, what the Supreme Court is going to do or what they won't do and what their legacy on this is really a question mark, I think. But what I do think that we can do is continue to demand from folks that we elected and put into office, that they act as though we did that, because we did.
And November is coming. And the truth of the matter is, is that we already saw from the first, you know, few women's marches, that women and allies being agitated and mobilize has concrete results and consequences at the ballot box.
And we believe that folks who want to be reelected, who want to continue to represent women, folks, communities, across this country should pay attention to what happens here today.
WHITFIELD: And I -- and I wonder, Rachel, is it your feeling that while there have been movements to encourage people to be more active at the ballot box, if now, this issue particularly this leaked draft decision will further galvanize the movement encourage people to understand or embrace the power of their vote?
CARMONA: Yes, I think that, I mean, one of the things that I can say is that we have not seen it -- we -- you know, we called for this mobilization about 10 days ago. And the week long timeline on this gave us a mobilization almost as large as the size of ones that we've planned over months.
We see a real anger and a real outrage among the base. I do think this will be a galvanizing issue around November. And as it has been in, in November's pass for a long time.
And, you know, my opinion is that the GOP has overplayed their hand and that there is going to be consequences.
Rachel O'Leary Carmona, coming to us from the nation's capital and one of the organizers of what is a sizable rally. Thus far, they're in the nation's capital and sprinkling other cities across the country.
Thank you so much.
CARMONA: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, Ukrainian forces pressing on with a counter offensive in eastern Ukraine and drone video and satellite images showing multiple and disastrous efforts by Russian forces to cross a key river. We'll bring you the latest on Russia's war on Ukraine next.
WHITFIELD: A U.S. congressional delegation led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made an unannounced visit to Kyiv where they met with President Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy said the visit is, I'm quoting now, "a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the United States Congress and the American people."
And there has been no confirmation about when the meeting took place or whether the delegation remains in Ukraine.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): Ukrainian forces are pressing ahead, however, with a counter offensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, despite efforts by Russia to stop Ukraine's advance.
As Russian forces pulled back, at least three bridges were demolished. Bridges that would have been key to Ukraine's counter offensive.
And you can also see the satellite images showing the sections where the bridges collapsed.
CNN's. Melissa Bell is in Kyiv. So, Melissa, good to see you again. Are there any details emerging about this meeting between President Zelenskyy and the U.S. senators?
Well, we've had a telegram post from President Zelenskyy, no extra details about exactly when that meeting took place. But really expressing his thanks to the senators from making the trip all the way here. And for him, a strong sign of bipartisan support.
Bear in mind, Fredricka that Ukrainians are very keen now to get some of that aid package that is now stalled in front of the -- in front of the Senate. Because that $40 billion aid package is partly about the weaponry they needed on the battleground, partly about the humanitarian aid. You mentioned, those quite remarkable gains they've been making as a result of that very successful counter offensive around Kharkiv, and to the east of that, taking six new settlements in just 24 hours yesterday.
Those are some pretty stunning advances. But perhaps even more significant, Fredricka is what's been happening on the Russian side, because to the south of that, one of the reasons that Russian resources had been distracted from that particular front was that they'd been concentrating themselves on a particular stretch of river in the north of Luhansk that they were very keen to get across.
So, their firepower, their manpower really focused on this river that crosses that part of Luhansk. They needed to get north of it in order to sustain their offensive.
And what we've been seeing, we've been hearing it from Ukrainians over the course of the last few days, and we've now been able to corroborate it from eyewitness accounts, from satellite imagery, several days where Russian troops have tried to get across that river by building pontoon bridges that have been blown up time and time again, the Ukrainian say no fewer than nine times over the course of the last few days.
Now, that's significant because it means that the northward progress of the Russian troops has essentially been stalled. So, some pretty impressive successes for Ukrainian troops on the battlefield.
But again, President Zelenskyy, even as he announced them last night, saying we desperately need more help, more weaponry, if we're to sustain these advances and keep the Russian advances in check. Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Melissa Bell in Kyiv. Thanks so much.
All right, still ahead, supply chain issues, historic inflation, and the recent recall is causing a nationwide baby formula shortage.
Plus, the TSA is apologizing after security screening forced this woman to toss out the ice packs that she needed to cool her breast milk. We will talk to her after the break.
WHITFIELD: All right, parents across the country are struggling to find baby formula.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): Even as the Biden administration works with the FDA to bolster resources, supply chain snags historic inflation and a recent recall at a major U.S. formula manufacturer have all of that has played roles in this growing crisis.
CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has more.
COLLEEN HAFENCHER, MOTHER SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: Like on here, it will say if they have it in stock.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: it's another full time job.
HAFENCHER: I'm up with him at 2:00 in the morning. I'm looking for formula.
BROADDUS: Searching 10 hours every week.
HAFENCHER: I start with typically the Similac web site. And then after that, I go to Target. After that, I go to Meijer, Mariano's, Jewel, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS .
BROADDUS: Colleen Hafencher is one of many parents on a hunt for baby formula across the nation.
HAFENCHER: This is really anxiety provoking and it's really worrisome when I get to work in the morning, I look for formula when we're finally sitting on the couch for an hour at night. We're looking for a formula.
So, I haven't found any in about three weeks.
BROADDUS: She has supply for three weeks. Thanks to a friend and her aunt.
But the shortage is affecting parents coast to coast, including those who can't and choose not to breastfeed, and other children who needs specialty formula.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, mama.
ANGELA KONCZAK, MOTHER SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: I spy with my little eye something brown.
BROADDUS: Angela Konczak's daughter depends on specialty formula and is tube fed.
KONCZAK: So, her body can't break down animal fats and proteins, and the Neocate Junior. is amino acid base, and it's been the only formula that she has been able to tolerate and actually gain weight and thrive on. And the fact that it's not available anywhere is very scary.
BROADDUS: Nationwide, 43 percent of baby formula was out of stock for the week ending May 8th. And in these eight states, that number had more than 50 percent, according to figures provided to CNN by Datasembly. The problem caused by several factors, including a recall, inflation, and a supply chain snag.
The Biden administration says it's working 24/7 to help ease the shortage, including importing formula from overseas. The Defense Production Act could be an option too, but the government doesn't know when it will get better.
KATE BEDINGFIELD, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: But I'm not going to stand here and tell your audience that I can give you a hard timeline that I can't give you. We're going to -- we are being candid about moving as quickly as possible, and we are relentlessly focused on this.
BROADDUS: However, Republicans say the Biden administration should have acted sooner.
REP. ANN WAGNER (R-MO:): This is sadly Joe Biden's America.
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): This is not a third world country. This should never happen in the United States of America.
BROADDUS: While politicians play the blame game, parents are the ones left worry.
KONCZAK: My daughter actually -- so, with her disease, she was actually just on life support a few weeks ago. She had gotten a cold and a collapse both of her lungs.
And so, we just got out of the hospital and to have to go back to the hospital just for nutrition.
Her grandmother purchased four cans and that was $349. Normally, a case of four is $168. And so, finding it is a necessity even if that means not paying my bills.
BROADDUS: Not paying your bills.
KONCZAK: Yup. That's what that means.
WHITFIELD (on camera): Adrienne Broaddus, thank you so much. So, from finding baby formula these days to nursing, breastfeeding, in correlation with a lot of rules out there, all of it, really hard, especially now.
And now, the TSA is clarifying its policy on bringing breast milk and liquids on flight, as a result, largely because of this story. They're also apologizing to this California mother after a security screening incorrectly claimed the mom was in violation of its liquid rule, forcing her to toss out the ice packs or at least check them, ice packs that she needed to cool her breast milk while she was traveling with her breast pump.
Joining us right now is Emily Calandrelli. She is the mom who was traveling from Los Angeles International Airport to Washington, D.C. when TSA security flag the ice packs, right?
She's also the host of "Emily's Wonder Lab", so, she might be familiar to you because of Wonder Lab on Netflix. Emily, so good to see you. EMILY CALANDRELLI, BREASTFEEDING MOTHER: Thank you so much for having me.
WHITFIELD: All right. So, this was really trying and I think any, you know, mother who has a nurse their children, and also working and traveling all at the same time is going to really understand what you went through.
I nurse three of my kids and still had to work and travel as well, and it was hard. You needed that breast pump and you needed those gel packs or something to keep it all refrigerated. So give me an idea of what happened.
Here you are about to travel from LAX to Washington, D.C. You've got your breast pump, you've got the gel packs, and then a TSA screening person, said, wait a minute, you're in violation of liquid rules.
Tell me what happened from there.
CALANDRELLI: Right, right. This is my first trip away from my 10-week- old baby, I need all of my pumping equipment, I'm trying to save the milk that I produced during my trip to bring back to him. Again, we are living in a formula shortage, all of this is very important.
And on the TSA website, it states that you can have gel freezer packs, regardless of how frozen they are, for medically necessary purposes. So I was allowed to bring them on, even if they were partially frozen, which they were. It takes a long time to get to the airport. So they're partially frozen, they tell me I'm not allowed to bring them on the plane. And I asked to speak to a manager or a bus and they have their -- someone come over who's their boss, and they tell me the same thing.
But at two important details, he says if I had milk currently with me, again, I was about to pump right before my plane in one of the nursing rooms at LAX, then it wouldn't have been an issue. And he said two, where's the kid, if you had the baby with you, this wouldn't be an issue. And so I had to, like you said, check my gel packs, even though I wasn't breaking TSA policy.
WHITFIELD: Right, and then trying to explain that you're actually a traveling person, your baby 10 weeks old at home, and anyone who's got little ones knows that your body is in sync with baby's feeding. So about that age, you're like two or three hours or so. So you need to pump to express that milk and you need it to stay cool so that you can meet it make it to your destination and home with what I call liquid gold, right? You don't want to lose a drop of it.
CALANDRELLI: Oh my God.
CALANDRELLI: Absolutely. And not only just food for the kid, but for my own medical wellness, because I don't pump physically -- WHITFIELD: You're going to be so uncomfortable.
CALANDRELLI: -- it's so uncomfortable. And I can actually, eventually, I -- you can get something called mastitis, which is an infection of the breast that can lead you to the hospital. And it's something to be taken very seriously.
WHITFIELD: So do you feel like this was an issue of insensitivity or just simply ignorance? You know, some of the people just didn't know what you were going through, perhaps not understanding what the rules are applying it correctly. What's your feeling on what was happening here and why?
CALANDRELLI: It's a couple of different things. One, it's the fact that many men and some women don't understand how lactating parents work, they just -- they don't understand the mechanics of how that all works. And so there's no intuition here.
And secondly, the rules around this for TSA are a bit confusing. The language is a little bit confusing. So to the credit of TSA agents, they don't even understand what they're supposed to be doing. And they're just trying to do their jobs. And so we need the language to be clarified on the TSA policy website because everybody's confused.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And in fact, here is a statement coming from TSA perhaps to help clarify the policy and at the same time apologize to you says in part, ice packs, freezer packs, gel ice packs, and other accessories required to cool breast milk are allowed in a carry-on when presented for screening.
Medically necessary gel ice packs in reasonable quantities are allowed, regardless of their physical state of matter, melted or slushy, because that was an issue for you, right, that the person said, well, wait a minute, you know, one pack is frozen, one slushy. And then you had to, you know, try to explain that transit and how, you know, ice works. So are you satisfied with that kind of clarification coming from the TSA?
CALANDRELLI: No, because that clarification wouldn't prevent my issue from happening in the future because I didn't have milk currently with me. So the TSA agent could argue that I'm not using it to cool breast milk, even though I was about to have it. And so the language is still unclear.
And even though they've had this policy for years, so many moms reached out to me after I posted this and so that they too, have had issues with TSA, not just at LAX, but in airports across the country. So this issue is not an isolated incident. It's ubiquitous. So many mothers are experiencing this. So something needs to change.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And Emily, I mean, that took a lot of courage for you to share this very personal experience. And at the same time, I understand you really had some trepidation too, because you're kind of embarrassed that, you know, this happened to me, but then come to find out there were a lot of people who shared with you that, you know, they can empathize. They've been there felt it and, yes, it would be nice if more people were sensitive and understanding.
CALANDRELLI: Right. I think from the TSA perspective, they perhaps mess with the wrong mom. But from moms across the country from their perspective, they missed with the right mom, because I have this platform because of my Netflix show. And I felt the responsibility to leverage that platform to speak for all of these other moms that this has happened to.
So I'm hoping from this point, there can be some change that happens. Specifically, I'm hoping that President Biden and then the administration will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to do something about this to clarify the language around breast pump equipment, breast milk and formula so that this doesn't happen in the future.
WHITFIELD: Emily Calandrelli, host of Emily's Wonder Lab and then you end up sharing with us Emily's, you know, wonder journey. Thank you so much for sharing and helping to galvanize potentially change. All right, thanks, Emily.
All right, still ahead. We continue our coverage of the rallies planned across the country in response to a leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would strike down Roe versus Wade.
WHITFIELD: All right, live pictures right now both Austin and San Antonio, Texas, where we continue to monitor more than 200 planned events today across all 50 states and all in response to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would strike down Roe versus Wade.
Hundreds of thousands of abortion rights supporters are expected to join in as part of the national bans off our body's rallies. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is joining us live from Chicago and Camila Bernal is following the event in Los Angeles. So Adrienne, you first, what do you see?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good afternoon to you, Fred. Organizers are starting to show up behind us. You see they have come with their signs. Not only have they come with their signs, but they've also shown up with a message, a message they say they want to take from the streets to the Supreme Court.
And that is after that leaked draft opinion. I spoke with a moment a woman, a mother of two a short time ago, she's over to the left. She's tucking her notes away in her pocket. She was writing out what she plans to tell the crowd of thousands that's expected to show up here in the heart of downtown Chicago. She's from another country, but she's lived in Illinois for 20 years. And she wants to share her personal story of what happens when reproductive health is restricted. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICIA WALLIN, RALLY ATTENDEE: I have seen how these restrictive laws affect women and affect people's life. And when I heard what they're doing here in the U.S., you know, trying to overturn Roe, this is just, we can't stay quiet. We can't stay at home. We have to go out in the streets and march and protest and tell people where we stand because if no one talks about it, they're just going to do what they want to do. And they have to hear from the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: And folks that I've spoken with here in the park say they hope their voice will influence lawmakers to protect rights, as well as members of the Supreme Court. For those of you who may not know, Illinois is one of the most liberal states when it comes to abortion rights in the Midwest. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, Adrienne in Chicago, thank you so much. Camila in Los Angeles, what's happening there?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred. So the event here hasn't officially started. But as you can see, there's already a larger crowd here. We're talking families, children, women, men, anyone who's coming out here to support abortion rights. Organizers say they expect about 50,000 people at this event. It was something that was already scheduled even before the Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked.
And now they say they have ramped up their efforts. And they're trying to get as many people out here as possible. I talked to the founder of the Women's March Foundation. And what she told me was that California plays a huge role in all of this, because remember, abortions in this state are protected until the fetus is viable. She says women are already coming to the state. And she expects more and more women to continue to come to California. Here's what she told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMILIANA GUERECA, FOUNDER, WOMEN'S MARCH FOUNDATION: In Los Angeles in California, the fight is to help our sisters in Texas, in Georgia, in Missouri because we're safe in California, and we can't take that for granted because no woman is safe across the country, how are we safe in California. So we take that personal to make sure that we fight for the other women across the country, fight with them for reproductive rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: And she told me that as a Latina, she is particularly concerned about black and brown women. She says she's going to try to get as many people to come out here rally because she says all of this work. She says they're going to have to continue fighting for their rights. And they say they will do so no matter what happens or what the Supreme Court decides. Fred?
[12:44:11] WHITFIELD: All right, Camila Bernal in Los Angeles, Adrienne Broaddus in Chicago, thanks to both of you ladies. Appreciate it and we'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Well, welcome back. The CDC is investigating a disturbing hepatitis outbreak among children. There have been more than 100 severe cases in 25 states and each with unknown causes. So far five children have died. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.
KELSEA SCHWAB, BAELYN SCHWAB'S MOTHER: What is this? Can I take it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first thing Kelsea Schwab wanted to show me was that her two-year-old daughter Baelyn had always been fiercely independent.
SCHWAB: Baelyn is Baelyn. She just kind of took serum (ph), drum, and does her own thing.
GUPTA (voice-over): But on April 22nd, everything changed and the true medical mystery began.
SCHWAB: We woke up and she had hives all over her body. So I took her to the doctor and they did give her epinephrine and then sent us over to the ER to be monitored. Everything was fine. She went home. The next day, we woke up and I was like, her eyes look a little bit yellow.
GUPTA (on camera): She wasn't acting any different.
SCHWAB: No. and her eyes were just a little bit yellows, just a little bit of jaundice. A couple hours later, we got a call back saying you need to get to the hospital now and they're going to fly you there.
DR. HELI BHATT, PEDIATRIC HEPATOLOGIST, M HEALTH FAIRVIEW MASONIC CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Over the next couple of days, Baelyn's numbers have improve, normal liver numbers are in 30s. I think at one point it was 7,000.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Heli Bhatt is a pediatric hepatologist. That's a doctor who specializes in the liver. She was one of the first doctors to treat Baelyn after she was airlifted to the University of Minnesota's Masonic Children's Hospital.
(on camera): In your career, have you seen something like this before?
BHATT: No, I think I have definitely seen multiple cases of acute hepatitis and acute liver failure. But the fact that there are so many in such less time, I have not seen an outbreak like this in my career. GUPTA (voice-over): What happened to Baelyn is extremely rare. But at least 109 times over the past few months, it's been the same story, a relatively healthy child, whose eyes start to turn yellow loses their appetite. And within days, their livers severely inflamed. According to the CDC, at least 98 children in this hepatitis outbreak had been hospitalized, 15 had liver transplants, five have died. And there is no clear explanation why.
BHATT: What is striking about this is the number of cases in the period of time and kind of all over the world and also following this huge pandemic.
GUPTA (on camera): Do you draw a connection then between the pandemic and what is happening with these kids hepatitis?
BHATT: One of the things that I question is, did these kids ever have COVID, you know. Kids can go asymptomatic with COVID. But then have all these inflammatory side effects.
GUPTA: Should that be part of the diagnostic testing? Should these kids be getting tested for their antibodies to COVID?
BHATT: I do think that is something we should be testing so that we can, we can know whether it is related to that or not.
GUPTA (voice-over): Baelyn did have COVID. But for many others, we don't know. For now, the CDC isn't currently recommending testing for COVID antibodies in these children and instead focusing on adenovirus, a virus that is usually linked to the common cold, and more than half the children have tested positive for. Dr. Bhatt isn't so sure, because while Baelyn did test positive for adenovirus in her blood, there wasn't any evidence of it in her liver.
BHATT: So this is adenovirus staining. This is a control. And this is Baelyn's liver, so it did not stain at all.
GUPTA (on camera): But you weren't seeing it in her liver.
BHATT: In her liver, yes.
SCHWAB: She would start shaking and she would, you know, had a hard time sitting up and like she couldn't hold her head up and just like watching her go through that was like this is not my kid.
GUPTA (voice-over): Even though her doctor struggled to understand how this all happened, it was clear what needed to be done to save her, a transplant. And within two weeks of Baelyn first breaking out in hives, remarkably, she had a donor, a 16-year-old who was a match.
SCHWAB: My happiest day of their saddest day. And that's been one of the biggest struggles for us, I guess is trying to come to terms with like tragedy is going to happen whether we need the liver or not.
GUPTA (voice-over): Simply fitting the lobes from a 16 year olds liver into Baelyn was a challenge but the seven hour operation a success.
(on camera): How quickly did her numbers after the transplant returned to normal? Does it happen immediately?
BHATT: Yes, it happens within days, so within hours, two days.
GUPTA: How is Baelyn doing now?
SCHWAB: She's playing with Play-Doh and starting to talk a little bit more. And she's asking for food and asking for juice. So we're slowly getting back to Baelyn. But I'm not very patient.
GUPTA: So this remains a medical mystery. There is no known definitive cause as to what's happening here. Investigators have started to rule out certain things, for example, the COVID vaccine, that is something that was not available to these children because they are median age two, and even moms when they were pregnant with these children, they -- the vaccine had not yet been authorized for them. So investigators say we can take COVID vaccine off the list, even if we still don't know what's causing this definitively.
And I should also point out it's not just the United States. This has happened some 450 times, 450 children similar stories to the one you just heard, have happened all over the globe.
WHITFIELD: Extraordinary. Thank you Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
All right, too often, the people working hard to help improve the lives of others do not receive the recognition or appreciation they deserve. Well, CNN Heroes wants to share their stories with the world and help them continue doing the work that makes them so special. This week, Anderson Cooper has some tips to help you help them and maybe your hero might just become the next CNN Hero of the Year.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Since 2007, CNN Heroes has honored hundreds of everyday people, making the world a better place, we'll shine a light on their causes, help them raise funds for their life changing work, all while inspiring people with their incredible stories. But the first step in the CNN Heroes journey is a nomination and that's where you come in. It only takes a few minutes and you can do it right now at CNNHeroes.com.
Just think about what makes this person special and tell us about them in a paragraph or two. We want to know about their impact and what makes their work unique. We don't need to know your nominee personally, they could just be someone you admire from afar.
And they can be from almost anywhere in the world. This is your opportunity to help that amazing person you know, reach more people and change more lives and maybe even become the next CNN Hero of the Year.
WHITFIELD: And you can find everything you need to nominate your hero right now at CNNHeroes.com. And we'll be right back.