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Hundreds rally for abortion rights in Norfolk following Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade

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Posted at 1:10 PM, Jun 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-26 22:28:14-04

NORFOLK, Va. - In the days since the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, rallies for and against abortion rights have popped up across the country.

Sunday, hundreds of people gathered in Norfolk's Lafayette Park to protest the court's ruling and share their own stories in the hopes of helping others understand their view.

"My mom wanted to abort me. She told me that a lot of times," said Ammie Pascua with the Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League. "She couldn't. That weighed really heavily on me for a long time. She didn't have the support system, she didn't have the therapy I had."

Personal, raw stories like Pascua's were what Repro Rising Virginia and several other local abortion rights groups wanted told at Sunday's massive gathering protesting Friday's Supreme Court ruling ending the federal right to abortion.

"This has been planned for a few weeks now because we knew that this was coming," said Michaela Parris with Repro Rising Virginia. "We don't want this. Virginians don't want this."

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin would disagree. Following Friday's ruling, Youngkin quickly praised the Supreme Court's decision and called Virginia's General Assembly to ban abortions after pregnancies reach 15 weeks.

His statement asked for compromise, saying in part, "We can build a bipartisan consensus on protecting the life of unborn children, especially when they begin to feel pain in the womb, and importantly supporting mothers and families who choose life."

"The only people who should be making decisions about pregnancy and bodily autonomy are the pregnant person and their trusted medical provider and that is absolutely it," Parris said.

The rally also provided information about resources for those seeking an abortion, including a service called "Practi-Cab" for transportation.

"We are starting to see an influx of folks. We're looking at about 200 to 300 down here in Hampton Roads alone," said Michelle Wooten McFarland, the organizing manager for Repro Rising Virginia.

But in the future — who knows?

For this crowd, the conversation is far from over.

"It's still legal, you can still get the care that you need in Virginia right now, but I think moving forward, we really need to focus on practical support and how we can actually help people who are seeking care," Parris said.