life after roe

‘I Deserve Access to Health Care. My Daughter Deserves Access to Health Care.’

Scenes from Friday’s abortion-rights protest outside the Supreme Court.

Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Photo: Michelle Gustafson

Yesterday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a devastating decision that will rob millions of people — many of them already among the country’s most vulnerable — of their bodily autonomy, right to health care, and well-being. The news came as a shock, but certainly not as a surprise. And so, as soon as the ruling was announced and the blow we’d been bracing for landed, protests erupted across the country. Naturally, much of the action has been concentrated in Washington, D.C., where pro-choice and anti-abortion protesters were already butting heads outside the Supreme Court by noon. Others from out of state quickly mobilized to join the crowds later that day.

At 12:30 p.m., President Biden urged peaceful protesting as a horde of snipers and riot squads marched in. At one point, a group of House Democrats placidly sang “God Bless America” on the steps of the Capitol while screaming protesters could be heard down the street. There were tears, signs pledging to “aid and abet abortion,” and even a one-man protest atop the Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge. Civilian protesters were joined by a handful of state representatives, including Ted Lieu, Maxine Waters, Grace Meng, Nydia Velazquez, Yvette Clark, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who told a Huffington Post reporter in the crowd, “Right now, elections are not enough. We need to show up everywhere.”

Photographer Michelle Gustafson was there to document the scene and speak with participants.

A box of trash with an anti-Supreme Court message is seen in front of the Supreme Court after the decision was announced to overturn Roe v. Wade in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 24, 2022. The decision by the court, in a 6-3 opinion, to reverse the landmark 1973 decision was met with nationwide protests. Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Atong Chan, 22, cries as she gives her reaction to the Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 law Roe v. Wade in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 24, 2022. “I have not ever been more angry; I feel they are disenfranchising so many people, especially Black women, and as a Black woman, I have never felt so scared of existing. It’s like my existence is under attack,” said Chan. Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Photo: Michelle Gustafson
A homemade sign is seen on the jeans of a protester. Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Anti-abortion activists engage in emotionally charged debates with pro-choice demonstrators. Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Protesters quickly create signs. Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Annalise Castellano, 19, stands in protest against the decision made by the Supreme Court. She said, “I’ve had friends, family members who’ve had scares or situations where they’ve felt they’ve had no help, and no resources, and so, this just made a huge difference, a dangerous situation for so many women out there. I mean, I’m speechless.” Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Jacklyn Pearlman, 27, her husband, Roy, and her 7-year-old daughter stand for a portrait in front of the Supreme Court at sunset. Jacklyn remarked, “My mother had an abortion, and so did my sister-in-law, and it was the right choice for them at the time … my mother had one because we were poor, and we couldn’t afford another child. If she did have another child we might not have been here today because of our financial situation.” Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Iman Hariri-Kia, 27, yells as she stands alongside other pro-choice demonstrators. Hariri-Kia, who happened to be in town for a conference with the American Library Association, said, “I live in New York, so I’m not worried about myself right now, I’m worried about people from marginalized communities, lower income people with vaginas, in states that are going to quickly ban abortion.” Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Elizabeth Proctor, 25, from San Diego, California, cries as she protests outside the Supreme Court. She’s in town to run a race, and didn’t intend to be here when the decision came down. As Proctor became emotional, she explained: “I’ve always been told to stay away from stuff. This was something I could not stay away from. This is very, very personal. I’ve had friends who have been abused; I, at work, have been abused, and I don’t want that to continue. At all. No more, I’m done … I feel like this is something I need to do.” Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Julia Lovett, 33 (left), and her daughter, Lovett Dolan, 1 (center), stand in front of the Supreme Court. What was Lovett experiencing? “Outrage. Disappointment. Sadness. Fear.” If given the opportunity to speak with lawmakers about the decision, she’d say, “I deserve access to health care, my daughter deserves access to health care, all women deserve access to choice about their bodies.” Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Photo: Michelle Gustafson
A spray-painted message reading “Our Bodies Our Choices” is seen outside the Library of Congress. Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Protesters give the middle finger as they gather to demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court. Photo: Michelle Gustafson
Photo: Michelle Gustafson

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Scenes From Friday’s Protests Outside the Supreme Court