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Roe v. Wade overturned: The scene outside the Supreme Court

June 24, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
Anna Lulis from Moneta, Virginia, (left) who works for the pro-life group Students for Life of America, stands beside an abortion rights demonstrator outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022, after the court’s decision in the Dobbs abortion case was announced. / Katie Yoder/CNA

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.

The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. Pro-abortion demonstrators gradually made up a decided majority of the crowd as the day wore on. Katie Yoder/CNA
The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. Pro-abortion demonstrators gradually made up a decided majority of the crowd as the day wore on. Katie Yoder/CNA

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, an abortion rights supporter, stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. She intervened on behalf of a pro-life activist when a conversation between that activist and abortion supporter became heated. Katie Yoder/CNA
Pierrerasha Goodwin, an abortion rights supporter, stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. She intervened on behalf of a pro-life activist when a conversation between that activist and abortion supporter became heated. Katie Yoder/CNA

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 who supports legalized abortion, holds a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA
Joseph Little, a 32-year-old Washington, D.C. native who supports legalized abortion, holds a sign outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. Katie Yoder/CNA

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.

Kara Zupkus, the 25-year-old spokeswoman for the conservative group, Young America’s Foundation (second from left), standing with other pro-life supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022, after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case. Katie Yoder/CNA
Kara Zupkus, the 25-year-old spokeswoman for the conservative group, Young America’s Foundation (second from left), standing with other pro-life supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022, after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case. Katie Yoder/CNA

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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Unrest after Dobbs? Here’s what’s happening.

June 24, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
An armored police vehicle is positioned on the plaza between the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court after the court handed down its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. / Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2022 / 11:03 am (CNA).

Police with riot gear arrived outside the Supreme Court at around 11:30 a.m. on Friday, just hours after the court released the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which returns the regulation of abortion to the states.

Although activists on both sides of the abortion topic have been raising their voices outside the court, as of midday June 24 there have been no reports of violence in response to the ruling

On May 30, a group called Jane’s Revenge released a call to action “Night of Rage,” in which they called for people to “come out after dark” and “make your anger known” on the night of the Dobbs decision. They selected 8 p.m. for “actions nationwide to begin.”

Pro-life pregnancy centers have come under attack since early May, with the words “Jane’s revenge,” or something similar, being left at the site of the vandalism. The attacks began after the Dobbs draft decision was leaked to the press. In recent months, many churches, especially Catholic ones, have come under attack from pro-abortion individuals as well. 

After the leak in May, a pro-abortion group called Ruth Sent Us began calling for its followers to disrupt Catholic Masses. Many local Churches issued guidance to parishes to prepare for possible disruptions.

A memo from the Diocese of Stockton shows that the diocese is directing its clergy, parish staff, religious, and pastoral center staff to prepare for possible disturbances to churches. 

A June 24 risk advisory from the Archdiocese of Boston, sent before the Dobbs decision’s release, shows that the archdiocese is taking similar precautions. 

“We would like to emphasize that there have been no direct threats received; however, we encourage all parishes and institutions to elevate their awareness and be prepared by taking the following precautions,” the advisory says.  

The archdiocese is calling on parishes and institutions to ask for guidance and increased patrol outside weekend Masses from their local police departments. 

The archdiocese is also advising parishes to train their staff to deal with protesters and develop an advanced plan for potential violence or vandalism. The advisory says parishes should remind all staff to call 911 for any concerns regarding violence or vandalism.

The archdiocese is also directing parishes to “Discuss your communication plan with ushers and greeters in the event they need to notify the pastor or police of an emergency situation.”

Other guidance from the archdiocese tells parishes to “assess your location” and identify doors that don’t lock or are unlocked at certain hours. Parishes are called to consider video security cameras on the exterior of churches where there is possible vandalism risk. The archdiocese is also asking parishes to create protocols, “where possible,” for screening visitors. 

This is a developing story.

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