Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2022 / 17:21 pm (CNA).
Hundreds of people — both pro-life advocates and abortion supporters — descended upon the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., Friday following the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
The decision leaves abortion up to the states.
While emotions ran high and some pro-abortion chants were obscene, the demonstrations outside the court on Friday afternoon appeared orderly. Authorities were preparing for the possibility of unrest Friday night.
Multiple layers of barriers and fencing — along with uniformed police officers — separated protesters from the court itself. Gathered under bright sunshine on a hot, summer day, some abortion supporters and pro-life advocates engaged in conversations with one another in the street in front of the court that was closed to traffic. Media cameras stood ready to capture any dramatic moments.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” 24-year-old Anna Lulis from Moneta, Virginia, told CNA of the lives she believes the decision will save. “I think this is a huge step forward for human rights.”
Working for the pro-life group Students for Life of America, Lulis estimated that more than 200 pro-life students were outside the court when it issued its historic 6-3 decision. But, as the day progressed, abortion activists gradually made up a large majority of the crowd.
Lulis carried a sign declaring, “Women don’t need Roe!” As she spoke, abortion activists led various chants with megaphones. Among the refrains: “Legal abortion on demand right f*ing now!” and “f* you, SCOTUS,” using the acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States.
Colorful signs with colorful language flooded the street. “F*** SCOTUS we’re doing it anyway” one pro-abortion poster read. “You will never control my body,” said another. Some women demonstrators outraged by Friday’s decision shook hangers at the court, referencing the view that overturning Roe will mean a return to illegal abortions in some parts of the country.
Abortion activists, at one point, directed their middle fingers in unison at the court building. Others took a calmer approach.
Pierrerasha Goodwin, 22, intervened on behalf of a pro-life activist when a conversation between that activist and abortion supporter became heated. An abortion supporter herself, Goodwin is originally from Chicago. Her first encounter with abortion came when she helped her 15-year-old sister to obtain an abortion. After that experience, she said, watching the country argue about abortion prompted her to learn more about the issue.
“If you’re going to stand for everyone else’s rights, and making sure that everyone is treated equal, you have to treat people with respect,” Goodwin said. “In doing that, fostering those important conversations, you get to actually listen to somebody and say, ‘OK, I may disagree with you, but at least now I know why people think like that.’”
Joseph Little, a 32-year-old Washington, D.C. native, was another abortion supporter who spoke with CNA. Disheartened by the Supreme Court ruling, Little’s sign read, “Forced Birth is Enslavement.”
Little spoke about the “need” for women to be able to choose abortion, comparing their inability to get an abortion to Black enslavement.
On the other side of the issue was 22-year-old Edwin Garcia-Arzola from Lumberton, North Carolina, who wore a shirt that said “Young pro-life Democrat.” As a Catholic, he said, he was “proud” of the court’s decision.
“For us, and especially for pro-life Democrats, it is very important for us because now we can take this battle to all of our states,” he said, adding that he is affiliated with the group Democrats for Life.
Another pro-life supporter in the crowd was Kara Zupkus, 25, a spokeswoman for the conservative group Young America’s Foundation. Members of the group were there to celebrate the court’s decision.
“We work with high school and college students to bring pro-life speakers to their campuses and host activism initiatives on campus,” Zupkas said. “To finally see our hard work pay off …. It has been just amazing.”
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