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In a 6 to 3 decision on June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, reversing the court's 50-year-old decision that guaranteed a woman's right to obtain an abortion. The court's action also set off trigger laws that banned or severely restricted abortions in some states and prompted protests across the country.

Cheers and tears outside the Supreme Court as groups clash over the ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision.

“I can’t believe we’re here,” said Poppy Louthan.

She was crying against a wall on the walking path between the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court. She had come from Seattle to Washington for a librarian’s conference when news broke that the court had overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Women are gonna die,” she said through tears. “I’m just overcome with grief.”

Behind her, the shouts of protesters and revelers alike melted together in the humid air. On the right side of the crowd, a small street party was in full swing as anti-abortion groups sang songs like “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. On the left, angry demonstrators held up signs, some hastily made from cardboard boxes.

The celebratory singing from the right quickly transitioned into something new: a chant of “not your body, not your choice.”

“I’m very excited, very happy, very grateful,” said Kelsey Smith from Clemson, South Carolina.

Mason Deshant, who called himself the “pro-life Spiderman,” traveled to D.C. from Las Vegas and was holding a sign that read “make abortion unthinkable.”

“I can barely stand right now,” he said. “The champagne came out.”

He was confronted by D.C. resident Dakota Starn. “Do you have any background in reproductive health?” she asked. Deshant replied that he has a brother who is a doctor. A heated debate ensued about the definition of murder, but Starn eventually walked away with her middle finger in the air.

Meanwhile, news began breaking of trigger laws going into effect, including South Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Louisiana and Alabama.

A woman with a stroller was slowly walking in a quieter part of the crowd, visibly holding back tears. She paused to sit on the sidewalk while her son ate a snack in his seat. Without giving her name for privacy reasons, she said she had two children at home. And has had one abortion.

“I’m devastated that there will be women who won’t have access here,” she said.

She didn’t have time to make a sign and is hoping someone has extras. The ones grabbing her attention right now are black and white and read “I will aid and abet abortion” — a reference to several laws that seek to criminalize the act of helping someone obtain an illegal abortion.

“There were so many women who helped me get an abortion when I was desperate and needed it,” she said. “I personally will help anyone I know who needs one. No matter what the legal landscape is.”

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