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Kamala Harris, demonstrators mark anniversary of Dobbs decision

Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion issue outside the U.S. Supreme Court building on Monday WORLD News Group/Photo by Carolina Lumetta

Kamala Harris, demonstrators mark anniversary of <em>Dobbs</em> decision

The U.S. vice president on Monday addressed a campaign event in Maryland exactly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a right to an abortion, sending the matter to individual states to decide. Harris criticized Donald Trump, blaming him for the high court’s vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. President Joe Biden has said he will reinstate Roe if he is elected to a second term.

What do abortion laws look like two years later? Since the court handed down the Dobbs decision on June 24, 2022, many states have passed laws protecting the unborn. As of the beginning of June, 14 states had laws banning the killing of the unborn with no exceptions, the Guttmacher Institute reports. Seven states ban abortion at or before 18 weeks’ pregnancy, and 20 states ban abortion at some point after 18 weeks, Guttmacher said. Nine states plus the District of Columbia have unrestricted access to abortion, with no protections for the unborn. Abortion-related measures are on the November ballot in several states, the Catholic News Agency reports.

What was the Dobbs decision? An abortion facility in Mississippi in 2018 challenged a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks’ pregnancy and penalizing abortionists who failed to comply. The lower court ruled in favor of the abortion facility, and state official Thomas Dobbs appealed the case. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that abortion is not a constitutional right.

What happened outside the Supreme Court building on Monday afternoon? A crowd of around 100 protesters gathered there Monday to mark the anniversary. Pro-abortion protesters were met by counter-protesters, many of whom were part of a pro-life boot camp with group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. 

Many protesters carried signs that said “keep abortion legal,” branded by the National Organization for Women. “Get your laws off my body,” another sign read.

Pro-life demonstrators chanted “Abortion is murder, abortion is oppression.”

The groups mixed, resulting in pushing for camera attention and some heated debate between the sides. One protester blared a bullhorn siren during the pro-abortion speeches. At about 3:30 p.m., police set up a barricade between the two sides.

“I’m so sick and tired of seeing rights stripped away and women treated like secondhand citizens,” self-professed protest organizer and leader of D.C. Women’s Strike Edie Young said. “I really wish that we still had the abortion rights all over, because people need to access abortion.”

“Where do I start?” Lisa Bouise of Phoenix, Arizona, said when she asked why she attended the protest. I’m trying to support women’s rights – women’s right to healthcare – it’s not just an abortion issue. It is a woman’s right to choose.” She added that she is advocating “to keep the Supreme Court out of making calls on our rights, on women’s rights. It seems that we are under attack, and we need to show solidarity.”

Liberty Mildner is a student in the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust boot camp, from the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Mildner carried a sign featuring a venn diagram featuring drawings of a Klu Klux Klan member and Hitler, with the Planned Parenthood logo in the center overlap. “I’m here to provoke thought. I’m not here to provoke fights with it, but I want people to start thinking.”

She said the pro-life movement needs to “keep fighting for personhood at conception.” She believes the biggest pro-life fight now lies with the abortion pill.

Roma Versluys of Wrightwood, California, a protester with Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust said the group was there “to be the countercultural movement that proclaims that abortion is murder, and that the next generation is the one of life and is the one that will stand up for the unborn and for their mothers.” Versluys said her group saw an advertisement for the protest and thought it important to ensure there was a pro-life presence.

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’ report from 2022 about where Dobbs started.

Elizabeth Moeller

Elizabeth Moeller is a breaking news intern for WORLD and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

Catherine Gripp

Catherine Gripp is a graduate of World Journalism Institute.

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