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Atlantans explain why they protested the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade reversal

Canopy Atlanta speaks with protesters who fear what’s next for Georgia

 

Story and photos by Ada Wood

Resources compiled by Nzingha Hall

 

 

June 28, 2022

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How we reported this story:  Canopy Atlanta believes in journalism by Atlanta, for Atlanta. Canopy Atlanta also trains and pays community members, our Fellows, to learn reporting skills to better serve their community. Nzingha Hall, a Canopy Atlanta Fellow, is one of the authors behind this story. Support our community-powered work today.

Three years ago, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the state’s “heartbeat bill” into law. This was at the time one of the nation’s most restrictive laws on abortion, banning it at the first sign of a heartbeat which occurs around six weeks—before many women realize they are pregnant.

 

Many of those opposed to the bill were appalled but figured that the law wouldn’t hold due to Roe v. Wade upholding abortion as a constitutional right. That was until late last week, when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed this nearly 50-year-old decision, overturning a constitutional right for the first time and leaving it up to states to decide how accessible abortion will be for its residents.

 

Currently abortion is still legal in Georgia. (For resources on how to seek out local reproductive care, click here.) But the heartbeat bill may very soon be made the official law

 

On the evening of Friday, June 24, hours after the Supreme Court decision, hundreds of Atlantans and Georgians protested in front of the state Capitol building, where these decisions about the future law are soon to be made.

 

Canopy Atlanta surveyed attendees—ages 19 to 65, traveling as far as from Woodstock, Peachtree Corners and Lawrenceville—to see how they felt about this monumental decision.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE DECISION BY SCOTUS TO OVERTURN ROE V. WADE,

HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Left to right: Audrey Milliana, Jahleel Alhadad, Fiadh Widow

Audrey Milliana

I feel doomed about it. Because I feel like the next rights, after they attack our reproductive rights, is going to be our rights to contraception and gay marriage. And that’s important to me personally, because I have a medical reason that I need those hormones—otherwise, I’m bleeding for two to three months continuously throughout the year. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a wet crotch for two to three months continuously. 

But aside from that, why is it anyone’s business that I don’t want to have a kid if I don’t feel financially stable enough, or if I feel like I don’t have a stable enough environment to raise them in? There’s already enough kids in the foster and adoption system. And there’s no other money being allocated to help people after they’re out of the womb. 

I feel like a lot of this is [happening because] our declining birth rate. But forcing the poor to stay poor, so they’ll have more children, isn’t going to benefit anyone. It’s going to lead to bad lifestyles for the kids. They’re not going to have a good education. They’re going to be stuck in that loop. It’s not for the people. It’s not helping the homelessness situation that we have as a country. More focus should be directed toward that and helping the people that are already here.

Jahleel Alhadad

It just doesn’t make sense to try to control someone else’s body. If someone wants to go get a vasectomy, are they going to say, “Oh, you can’t do that”? Or if someone wants to remove a mole or do plastic surgery? It’s all the same. If you want to do something to your body for the better, you should be able to.

Fiadh Widow

I feel very angry. I’m a very passive aggressive person, but this is a very aggressive situation. [The government is] just showing that they only care about you until you are breathing. After that, they don’t give a shit what happens to you.

I’m adopted. It worked out for me, but for others [in the foster system] it does not. It’s very infuriating to see people wanting to cause such disdain and such harm. Because stopping abortion does not stop abortion, it stops safe abortions. 

Lauren Partalis to the left of her husband and two daughters.

Lauren Partalis

I feel horrified and disgusted. I have two young daughters. I almost died in between having both of them and a miscarriage saved my life. I was also trafficked for 19 years, and I was forced into an abortion at 17. And so I feel a lot of righteous fury and determination to show my kids what we do for what we believe in.

My kids are extremely privileged. And so I think that, as somebody who did not grow up with privilege, one of my biggest responsibilities is making sure that they understand that privilege and learn how to grow up using it correctly. It’s important to wield that responsibility and help the people that need it when they need backing up.

It’s important for more reasons than people try to manipulate the story into. It is not just people out there trying to use this as birth control or trying to go out and have fun without responsibilities. There are far more stories like mine than anything else. People would be far more supportive of [abortion] if they got to know the individuals instead of the idea.

Left to right: Freckle Parker, Olive Kosmicki

Freckle Parker

The decision today makes me feel extremely underrepresented and mostly scared for the future because we’ve had this law for what? The past 50 years? And if they can just take away our rights like that, I wonder what other rights they can just strip away under the veil of religious expression and fear.

Olive Kosmicki

I feel very tired of constantly having to fight. I’m trans. I have to fight for my rights already. To have to fight for the right to my body, again, is very tiresome. And I’m very tired emotionally, but I know I have to fight in order to help.

Demeter

Demeter

(last name not provided)

When I heard the news, my body just started heating up. I haven’t stopped. I feel like I’m running a fever from how enraged I am. And I don’t think it’s gonna stop.

I was just really pissed off about the whole religion thing—just hearing people say it’s a life, it’s a life, it’s a life. Parts of the Bible even like tell you how to commit abortions and the conditions under which one should perform an abortion. It’s all bullshit and it’s incredibly hypocritical. The coat hangers [represent] the weapons used to kill women and other AFAB [assigned female at birth] people. 

Left to right: Stephanie Vitt, Angie Yarbrough

Stephanie Vitt

I’m here today with my daughter, my daughter that I chose to have and love so much. I’m very sad because I’m from the generation that was part of getting that passed. I’m an older woman and I never expected that we would go back here. I expected so much more from my country.

Angie Yarbrough

I feel hurt, obviously. It’s just another example of not being looked at as human—women not having control of their own reproductive and sexual health rights. It’s insulting, and it’s terrifying.

And it’s not just terrifying for the now but for the future generations. I’m worried for my niece. She’s five, but I’m worried for her because it’s already started. They started this plan, and they’ve been enacting it and we have not stopped it and this is where we are now. I don’t know.

Women—it’s not just in our healthcare decision[s], but we’re not listened to. Even our medical professionals, they treat us like we’re crazy. Society needs to remember to trust us. We’re life bringers. But you have to trust us, just like you trust the old men who are making these laws. Why should they have the right to make decisions they’ll never understand?

Left to right: Sanor, Amanda Leppert, Yas Henry, Emily Leppert

Sanor

(last name not provided)

I think my first feeling was—I was just shook. I don’t know, I’m only 18, I haven’t lived that much yet. And so many things I have already had to fight against. So many times we’ve been in the streets fighting, screaming, preaching, trying to make our voices heard, and nothing fucking changes. It’s baby steps. We’re taking one step forward and 300 back.

I feel like since the conception of this country, it’s always been in the best interest to protect a certain group of people. It’s always been the white elite. It’s always been this weird Americanized dream of who really deserves rights, who is human.

Seeing these fights happening in real life—I know that the people who came before us did not fight for us to have to stand up and keep fighting for the same shit. I saw some older women out here. There’s no reason the same people who fought for this shit are having to come here and fight again, and are still fighting.

Amanda Leppert

The thing is, you shouldn’t have to be raped or have experienced incest or any of this bullshit to have a free abortion—this is fucking healthcare. This is healthcare as a human right.

Yas Henry

I’m pissed. Especially as a feminine-presenting person of color. It’s extremely frustrating. There are so many things that are being attacked. It’s poverty, it’s classism. I’m so tired of having to constantly fight for everything, as far as being a woman goes, as far as having a uterus, as far as being Black, all of it.

It’s just so much dictation over everything—the way my hair can be in the workplace, what I am fucking allowed to wear? All of it is so fucking ridiculous. And I’m just so tired.

The government has no right to tell us when we can and can’t use birth control or have sex or have fucking children. Like what the fuck?

Emily Leppert

I feel angry, scared, sad. This is really, really devastating for all of us as a whole.

Before we came here, I was having a conversation on the couch like, “Hey, you know what? I need to get my IUD checked.” But I don’t know if I should, because what happens if they outlaw birth control? What happens if I get raped?

Honestly, I’m not even sexually active right now. The only reason I have it right now is because people just see the feminine body as a fucking object. We’re not something that you can put laws on. And I’m so tired of that. I’m so tired of living in fear. And I just am living in more fear now. Like, it’s never ending.” ♦

RESOURCES

Atlanta Clinics Providing Abortion Care

Clinic Search

Abortion Doulas and Doula Training

Abortion Pills by Mail

Additional Support

Organizations

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READ THIS STORY FROM CAPITAL B

Our media partner Capital B reported on how the overturn of Roe v. Wade will affect Black women specifically. 

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