Local protesters voice displeasure with overturning of Roe v. Wade

Published 9:27 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

SALISBURY — As word quickly spread Friday that the Supreme Court had declared abortion was no longer a constitutional right, calls went out in the community to gather on the steps of the Rowan County Administration Building to protest the decision.

Alissa Redmond, who owns South Main Book Company on South Main Street, said the people she had heard from “are in shock.” She herself said she felt sick.

In January of 1973, the Supreme Court issued a decision in a case that has become known as Roe vs. Wade that the due process clause in the 14th Constitutional Amendment provided a “right to privacy” that protected a woman’s right to an abortion.

In the opinion released Friday, which was largely anticipated after a recent leak, the court asserted that there is no inherent right to privacy in the Constitution, and therefore no right to abortion. The decision has left the governance to individual states. Currently abortion is still legal in North Carolina.

It was not the decision everyone wanted to see, and Redmond and about 130 others gathered on the steps of the county building to make their objections heard.

Carrying signs that ranged in messages from “Dear ‘ProLife’ Senators, Protect Born Children” and “Abortion is Healthcare and Healthcare is a Human Right” to “We Won’t Go Back” and “My Outrage Will Not Fit On This Sign,” the group of women and men by turns raged and wept.

“Who came here today after crying in the bathroom?”asked Redmond. “Who else feels like they are going to throw up?”

Jorden Leahey and Larissa Ash said they could not believe this decision had actually come.

“If I lose birth control, and I lose the right to an abortion, I have nothing,” said Ash. “I know people say I should be responsible about relationships, but if I get pregnant and can’t care for that baby, what happens then? Two lives destroyed.”

“These legislators need to protect the rights of born children,”added Leahey.

Samantha Haspel, a former midwife, said she could not sit at home and not join her voice to others.

“There is hope, but the ‘other side’ is only 20% of the people in this country. They are not the majority. We need to make our voices heard. I am not willing to see women die because of this. And they will,” she said. “Men can impregnate thousands of women in a year, but a woman can only have one pregnancy in a year. Why are they solely focused on women in this? And this is not the end. Other issues, including same-sex marriage and contraception, are going to be next.”

Redmond said she, too, sees more protests in the future because she fears this decision is just the beginning of more and more lost freedoms.

“When I was 21 and engaged to be married, I had to go with my mother to my regular doctor to get a prescription for birth control,” said Connie Byrne, holding back tears. When the marriage did not, in the end, take place, her doctor “called the pharmacy immediately and canceled my prescription.” Women at that time had almost no control over their own bodies when it came to contraception and pregnancy.

“We cannot go back,” she said.

Haspel thanked the men in the group that showed up, to protest and to support women.

“Your power carries more weight that ours in some places, even more so right now, and we need you to stand up for us, to magnify our voices,” she said. “I fear there will be a lot of blood in the streets to come back from this, but I also believe we will get there.”