The crowds gathered outside the US supreme court building in expectation of today’s decision – which resulted in a stunning reversal of federal law, the overturning of Roe v Wade and the end constitutional right to an abortion – turned quickly to anger, protest and in some cases to celebration.
Dominated with the voices of anger and dissent, young people and older ones joined together with handmade signs and chanting slogans of protest and defiance.
“This has been a fight 30 years in the making to overturn women and people’s fundamental rights to make decisions about their body. There is no coming back from this. There is no response other than outrage and action,” said Sara Kugler of Washington DC, who was standing outside the court building.
“This will not succeed. Abortions are still going to happen. God forgive them for they know not what they do,” another Washington area resident, who asked to use her first name, Cathy, said.
“They’re dividing our country even more. They really are. They’re making it more complicated. It could have settled it and stopped with this religious push. And this religious push from presidents like Trump who are not even qualified to lead us – it’s horrible,” she added.
A group of lawmakers were seen leaving the supreme court building shortly after news of the decision was announced, minutes after 10am. They walked behind steel barriers lined with members of the US Capitol police and heavily body-armored riot squad members, who separated them from protesters. Some protesters yelled at the lawmakers to keep fighting, others called them “baby killers” and chanted they had “blood on their hands”.
“I don’t care what that vote is today. They can not stop us. They cannot control our lives. We’re going to do everything that we can possibly do – we’re going to continue to organize,” said Representative Maxine Waters, a senior pro-choice Democrat from California who stopped to speak with the Guardian as she walked in front of the supreme court building.
When asked what the pro-choice side was planning to do in reaction to the court’s decision, she said: “We’re going to turn out a huge vote of women. We’re going to see if we can get something on the ballot real soon. We’re going to do everything we can possibly do.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive New York congresswoman, was among those in the crowd. She called for people to “fill the streets”.
The specific abortion ruling means that the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization is upheld by the court. The case was viewed as a specific law to challenge Roe. The ruling by the court also means that abortion will be illegal in half the US now or in the near future as many other states mirror the Mississippi restriction. Thirteen states already have laws in place making abortion illegal now that Roe v Wade has been overturned.
“Forced birth is enslavement,” said Joseph Little, holding a sign stating the same words as he stood near a huge crowd of pro-choice demonstrators.
“When you take away the rights of people and you tell them that their choice no longer matters in this country that is supposed to be the land of the free, you are oppressing them,” Little said.
“The courts today decided against the majority in this country. They decided to take this in their own hands and be our oppressors,” he added.