Americans were taking stock a day after the Supreme Court struck down a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, as states began to implement bans and abortion rights supporters and foes alike were planning their next actions.
The depth of emotion sparked by Friday’s ruling has led to protests and prayer vigils across the country, with Arizona lawmakers even hiding in a basement for a while while police fired tear gas into a crowd.
In Charleston, West Virginia, at least 200 abortion supporters gathered Friday night for a candlelight vigil outside the federal courthouse after the state’s last abortion clinic was forced to cancel all his appointments.
Katie Quinonez, executive director of the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, told the crowd that she threw her phone against her office wall when she learned that Roe v. Wade had been overthrown after nearly 50 years. His staff called 70 planned patients over the next month “to tell them their abortions were canceled and we had to send them out of state, and that was it.”
Quinonez promised that the fight for the right to abortion would continue: “It is not the end at all. … Tonight we cry, we rage. Tomorrow we get to work.
In Arizona, thousands of protesters – split between those who support and oppose abortion rights – gathered outside the state Capitol on Friday night. Police fired tear gas to disperse anti-abortion protesters who banged on the glass doors of the Senate building, and lawmakers, rushing to finish their 2022 session, huddled briefly in a basement.
Clinics in Arizona stopped performing abortions after the ruling, as did those in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Women considering abortions had previously faced a near-total ban in Oklahoma and a ban after about six weeks in Texas.
In Ohio, the ban on most abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat became law when a federal judge dissolved an injunction that had suspended the measure for nearly three years. Another law with narrow exceptions was triggered by the Utah decision and went into effect.
Protesters took to the sidewalks and streets on Friday afternoon after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, which was at the center of the Supreme Court case, continued to see patients on Friday. Outside, men were using a megaphone to tell the people inside that they would burn in hell. Clinic escorts wearing colorful vests used large loudspeakers to blast Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’ to protesters.
The decision will likely lead to abortion bans in about half of the states, and people on both sides of the issue have predicted the fight will continue.
In Minnesota, where abortion remains legal, Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order to help protect people seeking or offering abortions in his state from legal ramifications in other states. In neighboring South Dakota and North Dakota, the Supreme Court ruling triggered an immediate abortion ban and another taking effect in 30 days, respectively.
Walz also pledged to reject extradition requests from anyone accused of committing acts related to reproductive health care that are not criminal offenses in Minnesota.
“My office has been and will continue to be a firewall against legislation that would overturn reproductive freedom,” he said.
In Fargo, North Dakota, the state’s only abortion provider plans to cross the river to Minnesota. Red River Women’s Clinic owner Tammi Kromenaker said on Saturday she had secured a location in Moorhead, but gave no further details.
Thirteen states, mostly in the South and Midwest, already had laws prohibiting abortion in the event of Roe’s annulment. Another half dozen states have bans or near-total bans after 6 weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant.
In about half a dozen other states, including West Virginia and Wisconsin, the fight will be over dormant abortion bans that were enacted before Roe’s 1973 ruling or new proposals to drastically limit when abortions can be performed.
Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers told The Associated Press on Saturday that he would support legal action to overturn a 173-year-old abortion ban. He also said he would not appoint district attorneys to enforce the law and would commute prison sentences for anyone convicted under it.
“We look at everything,” he said.
Four years after winning the election by a narrow margin, Evers said he thinks the issue will energize independents and hopes to translate the anger over Roe’s disappearance into votes this fall.
“Anytime you take half the people of Wisconsin and make them second-class citizens, I have to believe there’s going to be a reaction to that,” Evers said.
The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit in Utah state court on Saturday and will seek a temporary restraining order against the state’s abortion ban.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associate Press reporters Dave Kolpack in Minneapolis and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed to this story.