Hours after the Supreme Court released its decision overturning the federal right to an abortion, a crowd of hundreds gathered in Atlanta to express their anger at the decision.
“There’s a recognition that we’re in a very important moment in history, and what we do right now will determine for generations what women and girls’ lives will be like,” said an organizer with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights who goes by the name Sabel. “People feel that they want to act now and not wait and see what the Democrats are going to do or the promises they’re going to make, but what can we the people do now? It’s an important start, and it has to grow, and it actually has to flood nationwide, bigger, growing, keeping going, not stopping, so that we can let people know that Congress and the courts are going to look illegitimate in the eyes of the people if they don’t restore this right immediately.”
Many of the women in the crowd said their lives have been greatly improved by access to abortions.
“As someone who has had an abortion, it was really, really frightening just to think that there’s gonna be a lot of women that are in the position that I was in once, and they’re not going to have that choice to be able to decide for themselves what they want to do with their body, with the rest of their lives,” said Andrea Martinez of Gwinnett. “And it’s just, it’s really scary, it’s really sad. I honestly don’t have words, it makes me really emotional.”
“I was just home from work today, I was very tired, wasn’t going anywhere, and as soon as I heard that they were going to meet at the CNN, I got some clothes on and walked down,” said Lezlie Woods of Atlanta. “Because this is abominable. I can’t believe that this is happening. I’m 60 years old. Planned Parenthood was a good plan for me, when I was a young girl, growing in my 20s. And I just can’t believe what they’re doing, I can’t believe that they’re going to try to reverse things that we’ve already been living, like we’re not human. We are human.”
Emily Best of Gwinnett said she felt deflated when she heard the ruling, even though she was expecting it after the leak in May. Still, she said being among the crowd cheered her up a bit.
“It’s really, really hard to feel hopeful on a day like this, and being among other women, other people who are in the majority but feel like we’re in the minority, that solidarity is really important,” she said. “I think another thing is this is a place where young people learn and get activated, and they have a chance to interact with folks who’ve been in the movement for a really long time and learn things they didn’t know. This is where a lot of people will learn what abortion health care options are available to them, even as Roe v. Wade is overturned.”
Sabel said her group is planning a full calendar of protests until abortion is a guaranteed right, starting with another protest at the CNN Center at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“People should vote when the time comes, but right now is what is crucial,” she said. “What we have to actually focus on right now is being in the streets and calling on others and shutting things down until we actually get this right restored.”