Amid Roe v. Wade controversy, Jacksonville women share thoughts on abortion

On Tuesday, News4JAX spoke with Jacksonville women of different ages, ethnicities and beliefs about abortion.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision suggests the country’s highest court could be poised overturn Roe v. Wade.

That’s the lawsuit that led to the landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion in the United States. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, the Supreme Court made it easier for states to restrict abortions. If the Supreme Court upholds a Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks, it would overturn Roe and Casey.

LINK: Key takeaways from Roe v. Wade Supreme Court initial draft opinion

On Tuesday, News4JAX spoke with Jacksonville women of different ages, ethnicities and beliefs about abortion.

“Obviously, everyone has an opinion about it,” said Lindsey Kinard, a Jacksonville mother. “Honestly, I’m happy to hear about that. As a mom, I’m an advocate for kids and I’m just happy to hear somebody is an advocate for the kids as well.”

“We were excited about that news, actually,” said Meghan Applegate, also a Jacksonville mother. “We thought that was wonderful. It’s something we’ve been hoping for a while.”

Two of the mothers we spoke with who were against abortions were split on exceptions for abortion in the case of rape or incest.

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“I feel like the child should still be born. There are programs for that and it would allow the child to go into a good home,” said Jacksonville mother Amy Roderick.

“I think it would be nice if there were some provisions for the very small percentage where it is a child who has been raped or a victim of incest,” Applegate said.

Others we spoke with included Carla Foster and her 13-year-old daughter Diayana Thomas, who both feel women should have the right to choose.

“You never know the circumstances that may be surrounded by a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy,” Foster said. “It could be health-related. It could be for a reason that is very traumatic and illegal.”

“To dictate whether or not she should have the right to have an abortion is not right because she might have been raped or sexually assaulted or an incest situation where she might not emotionally be able to raise a child, and not only that, but I think bringing a child into those situations or a situation where they are not able to can be emotionally harmful to the child,” Thomas said.

“I think that is not OK,” said Rosa Perez, a Jacksonville grandmother. “That’s why a law has already passed and a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body.”

Michelle Mejia is the clinical manager at A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville, a medical clinic that caters to the need of women’s health, especially women and girls who become pregnant.

Mejia said she was shocked when she learned the Supreme Court’s leaked draft and now she fears the worse.

“I feel like they are just going to ban it altogether, and we’re just going to go back to the old ways,” Mejia said.

GOP senators in support of reversing federal abortion laws have not all publicly said if they support exceptions for abortion in the case of rape, incest or if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. This also worries Mejia because she says many of the women who come to the clinic for abortions do so because of medical problems that threaten their lives if they attempted to give birth.

“We’ve had women here that had cancer and they found out they were pregnant. They’re going through radiation. They’re going through chemo,” she said.

And while many who come here seeking abortions do so because of an unplanned pregnancy not associated with rape or incest —

“Some of them have been. Usually the ones that have been a rape case come in with officers,” Mejia explained.

Mejia said if any woman or parent of a child who is pregnant has questions about abortion or options other than abortion, they can contact the clinic for more information and call 904-733-1178.

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