Over 150 people line Highway 61 in Roe v. Rage protest
Rhonda Silence

Over 150 people line Highway 61 in Roe v. Rage protest

On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion, upheld since 1973, no longer exists. A week later, on Friday, July 1, a gathering in response to the decision was held in downtown Grand Marais. Over 150 people turned out to express their frustration, concern, and rage over the decision brought forward by Justice Samuel Alito in a Roe v. Rage Rally.

One lone demonstrator stood across the street from the large rally with a sign declaring “Thank you, Supreme Court for choosing life.”

Many comments at the Rally were in response to the decision by Justice Alito, who wrote the decision for the court majority, stating that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

Voting with Alito was Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by the first President Bush, and three Trump appointees — Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, concurred in the judgment only, and would have limited the decision to upholding the Mississippi law at issue before the Supreme Court, which banned abortions after 15 weeks.

Dissenting were Justices Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Clinton, and Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, appointed by President Obama. They said that the court decision means that “young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.” In their dissent, the justices wrote that the court’s opinion means that “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”

The decision, most of which was leaked in early May, means that abortion rights will be rolled back in nearly half of the states immediately, with the possibility of more restrictions to come. For all practical purposes, abortion will not be available in large swaths of the country.

The concern about the decision was evident in signs held by the Roe v. Rage Rally attendees which held messages such as, “It’s not about babies; It’s about control,” “We won’t go back,” and “How can we celebrate July 4 when women’s liberty has been lost?”

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence visited the Roe v. Rage Rally and spoke with some of the attendees. Listen to her report below.