The U.S. Supreme Court made official Friday what was leaked a month earlier — the court’s majority supported upholding a Mississippi abortion ban in a 6-3 vote. The court also narrowly overturned Roe v. Wade — a ruling that lasted a half-century, and that was previously called “settled law” by several of the justices who voted to overturn it. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts unwilling to support “repudiating a constitutional right we have not only previously recognized, but also expressly reaffirmed.”
The draft ruling was leaked in early May, setting off protests on the Island and around the country.
Despite knowing it was coming, Friday’s ruling sparked immediate reaction on social media and even an impromptu demonstration by three people at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven around lunchtime.
Carla Cooper, a member of Indivisible MV, told The Times no organized rally is planned, although there may be some spontaneous ones like the one Friday. Cooper’s group has already held multiple protests against the stripping of abortion rights, and she feels a different approach is needed, instead of “just standing out on the streets” when their stance is already publicly known.
“We’re just kind of processing this and following the lead of national groups,” Cooper said. “This happened so fast.”
Some actionable things Cooper said people can do are operating phone banks to reach voters in states with competitive Senate elections, fundraising for pro-choice candidates, canvassing, and pushing for the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which is currently being considered in the U.S. Senate. Cooper said the ultimate goal, alongside the act, is to get Roe v. Wade codified.
The Supreme Court’s decision stems from a combination of voter apathy and former President Donald Trump’s appointments of judges who are “religious zealots,” according to Cooper. “Women will be dying by this decision. Lives will end,” Cooper told The Times.
On Islanders Talk, a post titled, “How is everyone holding up today?” generated more than 130 comments in a couple of hours. “Absolutely gut wrenched, disgusted, sick to my stomach,” said Celine Falvey Maney.
“Not so great. I don’t think people realize this is about SO much more than abortion,” Natalie Nicole DeHaro wrote. “We’re in big trouble here. All of us.”
Indeed, Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion suggesting that the Supreme Court should consider overturning contraception and same-sex marriage laws.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, reminded all that abortion remains legal in Massachusetts. “The Supreme Court’s Dystopian ruling does not change that, and we will do everything in our power to expand access in our state for women,” Fernandes wrote. “And we will prepare to be a safe haven for women across the country forced to flee Republican states to get basic healthcare.”
He went on to criticize the nation’s highest court. “The Supreme Court does not represent our country,” he wrote. “They embody how radicalized the Republican Party has become. They represent mass gun violence and forced pregnancy. They represent Jim Crow and fossil fuels. History will judge them harshly.”