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Protesters rush to Supreme Court after leak shows vote to overturn 'Roe v. Wade'

ADRIAN FLORIDO, HOST:

The right to an abortion in the United States appears closer than ever to being eliminated. Last night shortly after 8 o'clock, Politico published a leaked draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) Abortion is health care. Abortion is health care.

FLORIDO: As the news spread, a crowd started to form outside the Supreme Court.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) My body, my choice, my body, my choice.

FLORIDO: Juliet Moats (ph) was among the first people to show up. She plopped herself cross-legged in front of the marble steps. She said she had to come.

JULIET MOATS: Because a week ago, I had a pregnancy scare; because a week ago, I thought I might be pregnant, and I didn't know what to do. And I'm not. But to hear this a moment later, I was terrified.

FLORIDO: Terrified for herself, she said, and for anyone who might soon be unable to end an unwanted pregnancy. The court's draft ruling, if it becomes final, would not ban abortion nationwide. It would leave that up to each state. Many Republican-led states are ready to enact their own bans. Morgan McFarlane's (ph) voice quivered at that prospect.

MORGAN MCFARLANE: I have friends that aren't in blue states that are at risk right now, and I don't think that they deserve to be at any greater risk than I do just because of where they live. They still live in the United States.

FLORIDO: Kira Thorson (ph) said she has been dreading this moment but also preparing for it.

KIRA THORSON: I just got an IUD because I was scared that this was going to happen so that I could be protected for five more years. And I was right.

FLORIDO: Most of the hundreds of people who flocked to the court steps last night were abortion rights supporters. But abortion opponents also came. Katrina Fee (ph) came with a group of classmates.

KATRINA FEE: I came out here because it is so important that the nation see that there are young people like me across America that are so hopeful for the future of this country now that the court has potentially decided to overturn Roe.

FLORIDO: Why does she feel so strongly about this?

FEE: I was a triplet. My parents' doctors suggested that I be aborted for convenience. Thank God my parents chose life.

FLORIDO: Herb Geraghty leads an anti-abortion group and said that if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe, abortion opponents should start to focus in part on discouraging illegal abortions and on supporting mothers and their new babies.

HERB GERAGHTY: For so many pregnant people, they feel as though abortion is their only option, and there's nothing pro-choice about that. I hope that we can unite and work together to meet the needs of young families. Those needs need to be met in our communities.

FLORIDO: And Messina Cox (ph) stood alone quietly nearby, thinking, she said, about her daughter and her disbelief that a right women have held for 50 years in this country seems on the brink of being snatched away.

MESSINA COX: You know, it's a terrible moment to have the Supreme Court take away a woman's right to choose. And if that draft becomes the law, it has huge impacts across the country. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Adrian Florido is a national correspondent for NPR covering race and identity in America.
Lauren Hodges is an associate producer for All Things Considered. She joined the show in 2018 after seven years in the NPR newsroom as a producer and editor. She doesn't mind that you used her pens, she just likes them a certain way and asks that you put them back the way you found them, thanks. Despite years working on interviews with notable politicians, public figures, and celebrities for NPR, Hodges completely lost her cool when she heard RuPaul's voice and was told to sit quietly in a corner during the rest of the interview. She promises to do better next time.