Tears and cheers outside Supreme Court after abortion ruling

Some tears and cheers erupted outside the Supreme Court on Friday as Americans reacted to the court’s ruling that allows states to ban abortion.

“The people who are going to be affected by this, it’s going to be life-altering,” Grace Gill, an abortions rights supporter, told WTOP.

There were crowds of people on both sides of the issue outside the court even before the ruling was handed down at 10:10 a.m. Friday. By the afternoon, the crowd sized picked up again, as people got off work and headed to the Capitol Hill area toward the Supreme Court building. WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez said the crowd was shoulder-to-shoulder.

As the night progressed, a group dressed in all-black clothing marched through the streets:

The marchers, who supported abortion rights, walked with umbrellas and a banner that said, “They cannot control our bodies,” while chanting “Abort the Court.” Later, Alvarez said the group set two flags on fire, an American and Thin Blue Line flag. The crowd marched backed to the Supreme Court before Capitol Police officers — dressed in riot gear — dispersed most people away from the grounds.

Alvarez reported no arrests during the evening protests.

Earlier in the day, protesters held signs that say, “Abortion is health care.” Along with signs, there were also chalk messages on the road expressing support for abortion rights.

“Even though there was a leak a month ago, I think I’m just in complete shock, sadness,” said Marcos Garcia, who joined others at the Supreme Court. “I’m constantly thinking about people with uteruses who are not going to have access to necessary care in their time of need.”

WTOP's Valerie Bonk gets reaction to the decision outside of the Supreme Court.

Alison Delpercio biked to the organizers after getting a text from her mom about the ruling.

“Shocked, overwhelmed, sad and fearful of what could come next,” Delpercio told WTOP. “But also there’s some hope with the organizers here and the folks I know in my life.”

Alvarez reported the crowd outside of the court was mostly made up of abortion rights supporters by around 1 p.m., with opponents of abortion rights filtering out.

He said some abortion rights opponents left after some on the opposing side blasted Beethoven through a megaphone in their direction. Some protesters passed out information on how to access abortion pills by mail.

As soon as the ruling was handed down, abortion rights opponents gathered outside the court began celebrating.

Emma Craig, with Pro Life San Francisco, flew out to D.C. for the ruling. She grinned as she equated the day to “the Super Bowl for pro-lifers.”

“We feel like this is a big human rights issue. We feel like, for us, it’s the biggest issue of our generation,” Craig told WTOP.

Others feel there is work left to be done.

“As the pro-life movement, we’re going to pause and celebrate this accomplishment, but then tomorrow it’s right back to work,” said John Quinn, with Democrats for Life, told WTOP.

Another echoed the same message: “So we’re going to be working to make sure that abortion is outlawed in California, New York and other places where the decision that came down today doesn’t affect them.”

Some carried signs scribbled on cardboard, with many signs saying “We Won’t Go Back.” Official gatherings of protesters are planned for Friday evening starting around 5 p.m.

Members of Congress showed up outside the Supreme Court as well.

Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, said, “Women are going to control their bodies, no matter how they try and stop us. The hell with the Supreme Court; we will defy them.”

A crowd of abortion rights opponents shouted “We are the pro-life generation and we have abolished abortion.” Meanwhile, as a rights supporter spoke, someone shouted “If I die from a back-alley abortion, toss my body on the steps of the Supreme Court.”

Shortly after the decision was announced, an abortion rights supporter climbed the Frederick Douglass Bridge. He’s arrived at around 10 a.m., calling on people, including fathers such as himself, to nonviolently “shut down the gov” until abortion rights are protected.

Police closed the bridge to vehicle traffic due to the protest. The protester tweeted at 10:29 p.m. that he he plans to “come down soon,” but no time was given.

See the video from NBC Washington:

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez, Liz Anderson and Valerie Bonk contributed to this report.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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