Within minutes of the Supreme Court’s quashing of Roe v. Wade on Friday, the Missouri Attorney General issued an advisory banning abortion in his state. Abortion clinics in several cities, including Montgomery, Ala., and Sioux Falls, SD, are closed. But others in Illinois and Ohio continued to see patients.
At a clinic in Phoenix, 40 women were waiting to schedule appointments, prompting staff to search for answers about whether they were still allowed to perform abortions. “We sent some people home and they were hysterical,” said Dr Gabrielle Goodrick, the clinic’s owner.
In Ohio, Candice Keller, a former state representative who supported a law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, burst into tears with joy. “I just started crying,” Mrs. Keller said. “It’s been a real battle. It felt like you were never going to win. But we did win.”
The overthrow of Roe on Friday, astonishing as long predicted, sparked waves of triumph and despair, from the protesters on opposite sides gathering before the Supreme Court, to abortion clinics and crisis maternity centers, and in texts with friends and bursting social media feeds.
The split-screen response reflected a polarized nation: cheers and relief on the one hand, outrage and sadness on the other.
“If I had confetti, I’d throw it high,” said Dale Bartscher, the director of South Dakota Right to Life. “Today we celebrate a day that we have long dreamed of, advocated and worked for: overcoming Roe v. Wade.”
David Ripley, the director of Idaho Chooses Life, said he didn’t think he would live to see the day when Idaho’s ban on abortion — making it illegal after Roe’s fall — would actually go into effect.
“The court has finally admitted that its ruling and the rulings of the federal courts over the past 50 years were grossly wrong,” said Mr Ripley. “I’m ecstatic.”
On the other hand, abortion rights supporters have been concerned about the millions of women living in the wide swath of the country where abortion will be illegal or essentially unavailable because of the many restrictions that have increased costs and delays for women wanting the procedure. undergo.
Some women hoarded abortion pills. A group called Shout Your Abortion started a campaign proclaiming #AbortionPillsForever, vowing to help get them to women in need.
“I knew this was coming, but I didn’t expect to feel such anger,” Amalie Hahn, 49, told Jackson, Miss. “You want to ban abortion in the state of Mississippi, but you don’t want to consider I know Mississippi is one of, if not the worst, state to give birth. We are in the midst of a bottle-feeding shortage and poverty is at an all-time high and they are forcing women to have babies. This is insane.”
Jackson is home to the clinic, known locally as the Pink House, at the center of the Supreme Court decision. On Friday, volunteers there continued to escort patients in, and lawyers said the clinic would continue to offer abortions for the next 10 days, until Mississippi’s trigger ban goes into effect.
The court’s ruling, announced in advance in pleadings in December and again when a draft advisory leaked out in May, means abortion will be banned within a month, with rare exceptions, in 13 states. Opponents and supporters alike say it will likely become illegal or inaccessible in about half of the states, with 33.6 million women of childbearing age in states likely to lose access.
Millions of Americans have never known a world without the constitutional right to abortion.
In Kansas City, Mo., one of them, Mallorie McBride, said she was “appalled and appalled” by the Supreme Court decision.
“We’re taking so many steps back,” says Ms. McBride, 24. “I’ve always believed that older men shouldn’t make decisions about a woman’s body. As a single woman in my twenties I haven’t felt very represented by my government for a while, but this takes it one step further.”
“It’s also like, what else will happen next?” said Briana Perry, 30, board member of Healthy and Free Tennessee, a reproductive rights network in Nashville. “Not just when it comes to reproductive rights, but other rights we have that we thought we were securing through Supreme Court rulings that are now up for debate.”
The Supreme Court decision calls abortion “a pervasive moral issue on which Americans hold strongly conflicting views.” But while Americans are more likely to say that abortion is morally acceptable, the issue is highly political. Friday’s ruling made it even stronger, sending the question of how abortion should be regulated back to the states — and into a new and even more polarized era.
Both sides quickly turned to the battles ahead.
James Bopp Jr., general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, which has fought abortion since the Roe decision in 1973, called Friday’s ruling “a total victory for the pro-life movement and for America.” Still, he said the work for anti-abortion forces was “half done.” The group had gathered for its convention in Atlanta when the decision was announced, and had already drafted model legislation to ban abortion in every state, with exceptions only for risks to the mother’s life.
“That will be a huge task – there will be a whole host of forces against us,” said Mr. bop. “This is the end of the beginning, as Churchill once said. A huge obstacle has been removed and now we are going to make sure that the law is used to protect the unborn.”
Troy Newman, the chairman of Kansas-based Operation Rescue, which ran a lengthy campaign of blocking abortions outside abortion clinics, said the decision still leaves too much room for states like his, largely Democrat-led, to allow abortion.
“Now is the time for the pro-life movement to pick up our big boy boots and win the rest of the states,” he said. “We will mop up and bankrupt the remaining dirty, disgusting abortion factories.”
NARAL, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and other groups have pledged to spend $150 million in the 2022 interim terms electing abortion rights advocates in state houses and Congress. The Women’s March, which brought together protesters after the election of Donald J. Trump, called for protests in a “Summer of Rage.”
In Conway, Ark., Stacey Margaret Jones, 52, said she kept thinking about the women she met while volunteering at Planned Parenthood.
“I feel really hopeless because I feel like I couldn’t have done anything else,” Ms Jones said. She has donated to candidates who support abortion rights, attended marches and wrote to lawmakers. But in a conservative state like Arkansas, she doesn’t feel like her voice is being heard. Her senator is Jason Rapert, a main sponsor of the Arkansas trigger law that banned abortion on Friday.
“I’m looking for guidance from someone or an organization to say, ‘Okay, we knew this could happen and this is what we’re going to do,'” Ms Jones said.
As protests swelled outside the Supreme Court, with supporters and opponents chanting slogans, the Capitol Police sent additional officers to close the barriers blocking the courthouse and the Capitol across the street. They prepared for larger crowds when the people had finished their work. By noon, protests had closed the nearby Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge.
But the divided reaction was also far from Washington.
In Leawood, Kansas, a protester yelled through an amplifier, “You’re killing your kid!” when Daniel Morrison and his girlfriend arrived in the rain at a Planned Parenthood clinic so she could have an abortion. ‘You have entered an extermination camp. This is where babies are killed.”
Mr Morrison replied, “I help my friend, I help her choose”, emphasizing the word “choose”.
Mr Morrison said he worked at a restaurant in Oklahoma and his girlfriend volunteered at a youth homeless shelter, and they were not prepared financially or emotionally for a child.
“I’m not here because I just want to have more fun and party more,” said Mr. Morrison. “I want to be able to plan a life for a child and support a child in more ways than money – being able to give it time and everything a child needs to develop. Having the choice to do that is very important. I don’t consider it murder.”
The Supreme Court decision will only cause people pain and difficulty, he said.
Across the parking lot, the Advice & Help maternity center had added security on site Friday morning because of what its executive director, Ruth Tisdale, said were calls for attacks on facilities like hers. Ms. Tisdale said the Supreme Court decision was “an exciting time” but her work needed to continue.
Reporting contributed by Austin Gaffney† Jimmy E. Gates† Carey Gillam† Jack HealyCarolyn Komatsuulis, Tom Lawrence† Erica Sweeney and Kevin Williams†