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Protesters from both sides of the abortion issue rallied outside the US Supreme Court on Friday after the court struck down the constitutional right to abortion that was guaranteed nearly 50 years ago by Roe vs. Wade.
Signs reading “Stand Up for Abortion Rights” were juxtaposed with those reading “I am the post-Roe generation.”
Although the crowd remained peaceful, there were heated conversations between the groups. Lauren Cattaneo, who was there with her 17-year-old daughter, spent half an hour talking to a group of young people celebrating the court’s decision.
“I understand that they’re using what they know to back up an impassioned opinion that they have, but it’s hard to stand there and be lectured by people who have certainly never been pregnant,” Cattaneo said.
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He said he used to go to “advocacy clinics” with his mother when he was in high school, where he helped people access health centers as protesters tried to block their entrance.
Being off the Supreme Court decades later without constitutional protection is surreal, Cattaneo said.
“The idea that there we were, and now my daughter, who is on the cusp of womanhood, has fewer rights and there is less access for people her age than there was then, it just drives me crazy,” she said, shaking. her head. “I mean, just, she doesn’t feel like she’s passing the torch. She feels like we somehow failed, or thought everything was fine and it just wasn’t.”
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Those who opposed abortion rights sang their own rendition of the Steam classic “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” to mark what they see as a victory. They were met with chants of “safe and legal” from supporters of abortion rights.
Ellie McFarland, 18, was driving from Maryland on Friday morning when she heard the news. She says that there is a stereotype that all young people support abortion rights.
“I think it’s a very convenient political line to say that pro-lifers are a group of old white men, there are no people of color, no women, no young women or young people who believe this,” he said. “It’s very easy and convenient to be like these people don’t exist.”
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McFarland, who was interrupted by a protester while speaking to NPR, said she was encouraged to see both sides defending the issue.
“I see the passion on both sides. I mean, it’s an incredibly serious subject. Either you think we stopped babies from being mass murdered or you think women are being enslaved,” she said. “Both of these are incredibly serious issues, and if you don’t introduce yourself to either of them, I think you’re lazy.”
Although the decision came on Friday, it had been largely expected since early May, when a draft opinion indicating the court was poised to overturn Roe leaked Security measures were increased around the court after the leak and remain in place, including fencing around the entire court building, with the surrounding sidewalks also blocked off.
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Michelle Robinzine, a DC resident from Texas, came with her niece, Jayla. She said her decision makes her feel hopeless.
“I think it’s ridiculous. I think there’s no way anyone should or can tell a woman if she’s going to have a baby or not,” she said. “I think it will disproportionately affect women of color and women without means that we won’t be able to travel anywhere else where abortion is legal. And I think it’s a sad day for our country.”
Mary Irish, who is visiting DC from North Carolina, said she assumed the court would stay on course after the draft decision was leaked, but said she is still incredibly disappointed. She is 73 years old and remembers when abortion was not a constitutional right.
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“People had to go into alleys and get infections from these illegal abortions and go places they would never have gone,” she recalled. “I used to live in Los Angeles and a friend had to fly to New York to get an abortion, and another friend had a horrible experience. I don’t want anyone to have to abide by a decision like that, this is a personal decision.” decision.”
Her daughter-in-law, Theresa Irish, held a sign that read “I’m not fat, I’m just making room for the government in my womb.” She said that she blames Democrats for not doing enough to prevent this day from happening.
“We don’t have a tendency to take the fight to the mattresses, like the Republican Party does,” he said. “If we did, it would make a difference.”
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