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‘Devastating’: Texas protesters outside Supreme Court react to Roe v. Wade reversal

The court overturned the landmark abortion rights decision in a 6-3 ruling.

Abortion-rights activist Julianne D’Eredita
Abortion-rights activist Julianne D’Eredita, 21, of Austin, Texas, speaks following Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases.(Jacquelyn Martin / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By Rebekah Alvey

WASHINGTON – Anti-abortion activists chanted “Goodbye, Roe” and “We are the post-Roe generation” Friday outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the ruling that overturned the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

On the opposing side, protesters countered with cries of, “We will aid and abet abortion,” and “We’re not going anywhere.”

Paxton Smith, the Lake Highlands High School valedictorian who delivered her 2021 speech about a Texas bill that essentially banned abortion, has been protesting in Washington all week. She said she first heard about the decision by observing nearby anti-abortion groups cheering and reporters running to the group.

“My first reaction was that I wasn’t surprised, but it still hits you really hard. I guess I was just disappointed,” Smith said.

The high court’s 6-3 decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reverses nearly 50 years of abortion protections.

Attention on the case spiked after Politico reported on a leak of the draft decision in May. The draft, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, showed the court was poised to overturn Roe and side with the Mississippi abortion ban.

Julianne D’Eredita of Austin, who led a protest at Lakewood Church in Houston this month, encouraged people to take to the streets in protest.

“I’m absolutely terrified right now of what’s happening in this country,” D’Eredita said minutes after learning about the ruling. “It’s about something so much bigger than myself.”

Joel Enge of Tyler, wearing a shirt that read “Human Beings are Not Disposable,” said he’s excited the Supreme Court took a stand “for life.” He came to Washington on Thursday to conduct training and education for abortion opponents.

“I am just elated that the Lord gave me the opportunity to be here to see Roe v. Wade overturned,” Enge said.

With the court’s decision Friday returning abortion regulation to the states, he said he’s thankful for Texas laws.

The state’s “trigger law” will outlaw abortion within 30 days of the judgment becoming final for Friday’s ruling, which could take several weeks.

Doctors could face life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines if they perform an illegal abortion.

Smith, now a student at the University of Texas in Austin, said she’s concerned Texas could move to punish women who receive abortions with jail time.

Thirteen states have trigger laws, but more are poised to restrict abortion now that Roe is overturned.

Katie Everett of Longview, a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America who has attended March for Life events since she was a kid, said she has been in Washington for other recent Supreme Court decisions on abortions, awaiting the ruling on Dobbs.

“It’s just really exciting that more babies will be able to live, especially in states like Texas,” Everett said.

She said her organization will start working in states that do not have abortion restrictions.

Elizabeth White, a Washington civil rights lawyer, led chants of, “My body, my choice.” She said the decision will disproportionately affect brown, Black and trans people.

“It’s devastating,” she said. “It’s about dominating women. It’s not right, but just as we have as a people, we’ll continue to fight.”

As the work day drew to a close and the sun began to set on the court’s marble columns Friday evening, the crowd’s numbers swelled further, fueled predominantly by abortion rights supporters chanting and waving signs with criticisms of the conservative justices responsible for overturning Roe.

They packed together shoulder to shoulder by the thousands as they listened to activists at the microphones exhorting them to fight the temptation to go back to their regular lives and instead channel their anger into political action.

Abortion rights supporters said they planned to spend the day and into the weekend outside the Supreme Court.

“Showing them again that the citizens of the country aren’t going to stand for it,” Smith said.

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