Activists gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court and rallied around the country on Friday, to either celebrate or mourn the decision by the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion.
The scene outside the nation’s highest court on Friday illustrated the country’s deep divisions over the issue of abortion. Abortion-rights opponents celebrated the decision, which marks the culmination of decades of conservative advocacy, and cheered the start of a “post-Roe generation.” In stark contrast, abortion-rights advocates decried the ruling as an unacceptable infringement on women’s rights and pledged to continue advocating for reproductive freedom, holding signs that read, “Abortion Saves Lives,” and, “We Were Never the Land of the Free.”
“These justices have manufactured a public-health crisis with a stroke of a pen,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said during a press call on Friday. “Despite our best collective effort, it will not be enough to account for the massive need that will exist as half the country moves quickly to ban abortion.”
The 6-3 ruling by the court’s conservative majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will reshape access to reproductive health care across the country. There are 22 states with laws that could be used to restrict abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and 13 states already have “trigger laws” in place that will ban all or nearly all abortions in the coming days.
Abortion rights advocates have emphasized that the ruling will disproportionately harm low-income people and women of color, as abortion remains legal in most Democratic-leaning states but will be increasingly difficult to access for those who can’t afford to travel across state lines or take time off work.
“With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent,” the court’s three liberal justices wrote in a dissenting opinion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Congress to pass legislation to protect reproductive rights and emphasized the importance of the upcoming midterm elections. “It’s a slap in the face to women about using their own judgment to make their own decisions about their reproductive freedom,” she said, calling the ruling “outrageous and heart-wrenching.”
Here are some of the most poignant photographs from the public reaction to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
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