JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Reaction came in Friday from people in Northeast Florida who are anti-abortion and those who are pro-abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
News4JAX spoke with local people for and against the ruling, which is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Those for abortion rights say the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a step backward, while those against abortion say the decision is a step in the right direction.
Alexis West, who is pro-abortion rights, told News4JAX that any decision about a person’s body should be made by that person.
“I am very upset because I don’t think anyone should be able to dictate what we can do with our bodies except the woman who actually has the uterus,” West said.
Gilda Griffin-Thomas is pro-abortion rights.
“I feel like it’s up to the female. If she wants to have an abortion, it’s her right, than to have someone dictate what she should do with her own body,” Griffin-Thomas said.
Bernadette Williams is anti-abortion
“It brings up a mixed reaction, and I think about my story,” Williams said. “The age of 17, first time having sex, I got pregnant, did not know I was pregnant.”
Williams was faced with a life-threatening birth.
“The doctors told my mom and my dad, and my parents said the insurance company will give you an abortion because it is threatening your life,” Williams said. “All that I know is that I couldn’t take a child’s life even if it meant my life, so I made a decision to bear my child.”
Williams lost her child to a miscarriage but believes more people should have their child instead of getting an abortion.
News4JAX also talked with Eleanor Ascheman, who is anti-abortion. She is the president of Students for Life and said she believes the ruling is a step in the right direction for families.
“This is a very exciting day. It seems a bit little unreal. We were expecting after the leak that people would’ve gotten a bit bullied into changing their minds, especially since it was already so close in numbers,” Ascheman said. “The fact that it was 6-3 is amazing and really empowering and uplifting for the future.”
Every state can now decide its rules for abortion -- or ban abortion outright. In Florida, the new law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy goes into effect July 1.
Pro-abortion rights group Planned Parenthood spoke out during a news conference Friday afternoon outside City Hall.
“The 15-week abortion ban is extreme, as there is no exception for rape, incest or human trafficking,” said Crishelle Bailey, with Florida Planned Parenthood PAC.
Baleigh Johnson said, “In this moment, we do not need more control we need compassion.”
Johnson says she is a Christian and a married woman who was diagnosed with severe mental illness, and to get treated properly, she and her husband made a tough decision to abort their child.
Diana Montgomery, who is pro-abortion rights, believes if states ban abortions or make it more difficult to do, it will harm more women.
“I think it is a woman’s choice. No one understands what a woman goes through when she receives a child. And if she receives a child the wrong way, her life should not be totally turned upside down,” Montgomery said.
A rally to protest the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling was scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday outside the Duval County Courthouse.
Friday’s decision came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this step.
Alito, in the final opinion issued Friday, wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the days they were decided and must be overturned.
The vote was 6-3 to uphold the Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks, but Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t join his conservative colleagues in overturning Roe. He wrote that there was no need to overturn the broad precedents to rule in Mississippi’s favor.
Pro-abortion rights advocates believe the way to combat Roe v. Wade being overturned is by going to the polls and voting people out of office who are against abortion. Anti-abortion advocates say Friday is just the beginning of many changes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.