Pro-choice demonstrators protest leaked SCOTUS opinion on abortion
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Tuesday, a charged crowd of hundreds rallied near the federal courthouse in Richmond in support of abortion rights.
This comes after the fallout from reports that the Supreme Court of the United States drafted a 96-paged opinion that would overturn Roe V. Wade, which has served as the basis of abortion law across the country for nearly 50 years.
That ruling is not final, but the leak has sent shockwaves across the country, reigniting the debate over reproductive rights all across the country, including right here in Virginia.
“This is that red alert moment that we have been preparing for,” said Rae Pickett.
Pickett works with the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood and organized the Richmond protest hours after news of the SCOTUS’s opinion broke.
For hours, hundreds of demonstrators representing Planned Parenthood and the Virginia ACLU marched, chanted and rallied, shouting phrases like “my body, my choice!” and “abortion is healthcare!”
“I think we’re all just really scared, and we want things to remain the same, and this is the least we can do just to react this way,” demonstrator Brooks Daughtry said.
“The fact that people are in danger of losing that right is atrocious and inhumane,” demonstrator Alex Knezevich said.
Similar demonstrations took place in Norfolk.
Pickett says this energized response is necessary in order to send state legislators a clear message.
“When people’s rights are under attack and under threat, they will fight back,” Pickett said.
But on the opposite side of the debate, there was a different reason for outrage. Governor Glenn Youngkin and other pro-life leaders are taking issue with how the Supreme Court document was leaked.
“This is just an unbelievable breach of confidence. It was done in order to create chaos and put pressure on elected officials,” Youngkin said.
Regardless, the pro-life governor says he wants to see fewer abortions in the state. But the laws on the books would protect reproductive rights even if Roe V. Wade is overturned, at least for now.
“I think that makes the state elections that much more critically important on this issue.” State Sen. Jennifer McClellan said.
That’s why Picket says legislators should prepare to see these same crowds at the polls.
“All of the other anti-reproductive health and rights politicians in Virginia should be very concerned about the crowd behind us because we are going to vote, and we are going to vote in every election, and we are going to fight for our access to abortion care no matter what,” Pickett said.
Pickett says politicians should expect many larger demonstrations in the coming weeks. She says efforts are being made to coordinate several protests across the state for May 14.
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