Abortion rights advocates in Williamsburg gather in solidarity after SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade

Williamsburg Roe v. Wade protest (June 24)
Williamsburg Roe v. Wade protest (June 24)
Williamsburg Roe v. Wade protest (June 24)
Williamsburg Roe v. Wade protest (June 24)
Williamsburg Roe v. Wade protest (June 24)
Posted at 4:24 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-25 23:08:00-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - After the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that made abortion legal nationwide, Friday, advocates in Williamsburg are standing in solidarity with those fighting for reproduction rights.

People gathered outside Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse, located at 5201 Monticello Avenue, Friday evening.

News 3 reporter Kelsey Jones was at the protest as people made their voices heard following the Supreme Court's ruling.

An emotional and frustrated crowd is calling the protest, "Bans Off Our Bodies," with some carrying signs that read, "Abortion is healthcare," as they absorb the news that the court has struck down the 50-year-old decision.

This outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half of the states.

Some protesters told News 3 they can't believe what's happening is real. One activist said today is a slap in the face for her.

"I have great-granddaughters, and I have two daughters. Every one of them is at the mercy of the government when it comes to their reproductive healthcare - every one of them - and it's an abomination, in my eyes. This is unacceptable," said abortion rights activist Pam Pouchot.

Another abortion rights activist said, "I, myself am enraged. I'm upset. I am sick and tired of individuals trying to impose their own personal values and their own personal beliefs on others."

Among the protesters, one did not want her name shared, but she held back tears as she talked about the decision and how she is thankful she has two sons.

Others are feeling the exact same way.

"Every child should be a wanted child. Hopefully every parent should be able to afford to raise their child in a healthy and safe environment. We don't have that yet, and we want to add more children to the mix that cannot be taken care of? That is absolutely asinine," said Pouchot.

72-year-old Pouchot says she wasn't surprised about the decision. Although she is no longer in her child-bearing years, she says it was important for her to protest because the government shouldn't have a say.

"Nobody in the government gives a damn. This is not acceptable!" said Pouchot.

As drivers beeped their horns in solidarity with abortion rights activists, News 3 spoke with one anti-abortion activist outside of Planned Parenthood.

"I am rejoicing," said anti-abortion activist Craig Hudgins. "The world has chosen of what I describe as a 'pro-death' culture, and we are as obligated as our faith to adhere or at least to promote a pro-life culture."

Hudgins, who says he stands firm in his faith as a Catholic, says he wants to see "life" happen always. A representative for two Catholic bishops echoed a similar sentiment.

“We very much welcome the decision. We are looking forward to working with legislators at the state level to protect lives and provide compassionate care and support," said Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference.

"You might say this is a problematic situation that could create a lot of violence, and I hope that by the grace of God we go through this summer without finding out to be the case," Hudgins states.

Gaylene Kanoyton, the president of the NAACP chapter in Hampton, sent a statement saying, "Today's Supreme Court decision was a sad day for women. Voting is the key to democracy and protection of rights. Civil rights and more will be on the table. Pro choice voters need to remember this decision in November and turn out and vote."

Related: What the Roe ruling means for Virginia