The country reacts to Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade

For people who opposed the decision on June 24, 2022 – like those in Colorado, New Jersey, and New York – their gatherings were very different, but their message was the same

People in Washington Square Park in New York City protest the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022.

After the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022, people across the country reacted by gathering and making their feelings known. For people who opposed the decision – like those in Colorado, New Jersey, and New York – their marches were very different, but their message was the same.

Cherry Hill, N.J.

Among a hot, stuffy crowd of shouting protesters, a young woman stands silently. Her attention remains fixed on the rally cry of Representative Andy Kim, as he affirms his disappointment toward his colleagues, the Supreme Court, and American democracy as a whole. She protectively grips the shoulder of a little girl holding a “BANS OFF OUR BODIES” sign, and her eyes fill with tears.  

Protesters gathered across from The Women’s Center in Cherry Hill, N.J., on June 24, 2022, in response to the reversal of Roe v. Wade just hours before. This scene repeated itself across the country, as Americans reacted to the removal of federal protections legalizing abortion.

People in Cherry Hills, N.J., stand alongside Kings Highway, urging passing cars to honk in protest the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022. (Emily Boyle)

Citizens of all ages stood along Kings Highway, holding signs such as “No Uterus No Opinion,” “My Body My Choice,” and “I Stand With Planned Parenthood.” Speckled among  the crowd stood individuals in rainbow vests labeled “Clinic Escort.” Along with handing out flyers, food, and water, Clinic Escorts ensured the safety of protesters at the event. 

“We didn’t invite the cops proactively,” explained Roxanne Sutocky, the director of community engagement for The Women’s Center. “Police at rallies do not make everyone comfortable, especially brown folks [and] immigrants.”

Despite the increased tension and lack of police, all participants in the event remained peaceful. Protesters chanted phrases such as, “We will not go back!” and “Human rights are under attack!” as drivers along the highway honked their horns in approval. 

A number of politicians and activists addressed the crowd. Kim recounted his experience on the House floor, at the exact moment in which the Supreme Court decision was announced. He described the sight of his colleagues celebrating the overturning of Roe.

Representative Andy Kim describes seeing colleagues celebrate the reversal of Roe while at a protest in Cherry Hills, N.J., on June 24, 2022. (Emily Boyle)

“That’s a place that’s supposed to protect Americans, not take away their rights,” said Kim. “And watching my colleagues celebrating the removal of rights from Americans, from women all over this country, not just now but potentially for generations– it was sickening.”

In New Jersey, abortion rights are still protected by the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act. However, activists still hope to expand these rights to uninsured, impoverished, and undocumented individuals. 

“Rights without access are meaningless,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, vice president of public affairs of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “Attend rallies, attend events, make [your] voice heard.”

While some attendees appeared hopeful in their activism, an undeniable current of anger remained present. Bonnie Martin, chair of the Cumberland County Democratic organization, urged listeners to vote in their upcoming elections. 

“Our human rights should not depend on a midterm election!” one protester interrupted from the crowd. “You’re gonna say that because I didn’t vote the day I had COVID is the reason I lost my womb? We just lost our wombs and you’re talking about turnout?”

A protester uses lipstick and cardboard to make a last-minute sign for the rally in Cherry Hills, N.J., as part of the protest of the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022. (Emily Boyle)

Others emphasized the differences surrounding abortion access. Shevone Torres, a Black Lives Matter community organizer, directly addressed the majority white crowd. 

“I want to make sure you understand your privilege, and you weaponize that privilege to uplift the most marginalized of the marginalized,” she said, “which is black women.”

As the crowd cheered she commented, “You’re clapping, but you’re not gonna do it.”

Most protesters stayed at the event from 6-8 p.m., as pro-life activists began to arrive. Clinic Escorts assisted attendees to and from their cars and maintained peace between the conflicting sides. While violence was avoided, a sense of anger, frustration, and betrayal lingered in its absence. 

We all know we expected it. It’s still a gut punch nonetheless, the decision that came down today,” said Cory Neering, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey. “This is not the fight that any of us wanted, but it is the fight that we’re in.”

Denver, Colo.

After the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, protests broke out nationwide in response.

At the capitol in downtown Denver, an estimated 5,000 abortion rights advocates gathered that evening to support women’s healthcare rights.

Speakers from the Party of Socialism and Liberation spoke in downtown Denver on June 24, 2022, as part of the protest of the latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade. (Heather Harrison)

Colorado is a Democratic state with a governor who expressed disapproval of restricted abortion access and signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law, which ensures Coloradans have the right to abortions and access to reproductive healthcare.

The Denver protestors said they were standing up for their friends in states with restricted abortion access.

Healthcare workers were part of the march on the streets of downtown Denver on June 24, 2022, to protest the latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade. (Heather Harrison)

 Abortion rights advocate Kate South explained why she felt the need to protest.

 “Colorado luckily is safe … but half the states are [expletive],” South said. “It’s really sad.”

 The crowd gathered as members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation spoke. They armed the group with chants and messages of longevity.

 Sarah Thomas, a member of the Party, said they helped organize the rally to garner momentum and noise in Denver.

 “The choices of six people are not reflecting how millions of people are feeling,” Thomas said, “and those people are in Denver.”

 After the Party members spoke, the crowd mazed around the block to continue the rally. They chanted, “The people, united, will never be divided,” “2, 4, 6, 8, separate the church and state,” and “My body, my choice.”

 Protestors were met with waves and cheers as they marched through the streets.  

The rally marched a couple of blocks and snaked its way back to the Capitol.

 Party for Socialism and Liberation member Breezy Sanchez explained the significance of quick action.

 “It’s really important in these times to make a quick action happen,” Sanchez said.

Pelham, N.Y.

On June 24, 2022, in response to the binding actions of the Supreme Court on Roe vs. Wade, women around the world began rallying together to regain control of their bodies, even in the small town of Pelham, N.Y.

On this night, the group Progressive Women of Pelham held a walk and candlelight vigil. It began at 659 Ely Ave. in Pelham Manor, ending at Weihman Park at the “Four Corners” intersection. All who were gathered to march carried candles as they walked, stopping at the park to hear Liz Alderman, organizer of the rally, other members of Progressive Women of Pelham, and many other attendees of the march speak.

People in Pelham, N.Y., gather to protest the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022. (Hannah Steinberg )


Alderman is passionate about women’s rights and the freedom of choice is a cause dear to her.

“This is a fundamental human right and I can’t imagine the government telling me whether or not to bear a child because it is such a huge undertaking to be a parent,” she said. “It is important for every woman to be able to be a parent when she is ready. For medical and personal reasons, 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime, and, if they do, it is not anybody’s business.

“Here in New York, we are very fortunate that we are not in a trigger state, but I feel like I can understand what it would be like to be in a desperate situation. I have my own children and I was able to do that from a place of joy and comfort, knowing that it was the right time for me, so I really can’t imagine it any other way. 

“The implications of what happened today [with the Supreme Court ruling] are terrifying. The way this was argued shows that other civil liberties will be next and this is just the beginning of a very slippery slope. We will see all sorts of things from contraception to inability to travel out of state and laws against lgbtq+ all unraveling which is beyond heartbreaking.”

They are rolling back this right and telling women they are less than. There are people in power out there that do not want women to have a voice or equal rights which is bad for the future of feminism and our nation.

— KAREN GARDNER, Progressive Women of Pelham

Liz Massie, a member of the executive board of Progressive Women of Pelham also shared her thoughts on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

 “As much as I anticipated this moment, it flattened me this morning,” she said. “This represents the first time in American history that there is a loss of a law granted by the federal government, and my fear is that there is a loss of many more rights to come. This rogue Supreme Court has made it clear that they are putting religious idealism before what is best for the citizens, so I am prepared both individually and with my organization to do what it takes to reverse this decision and support legislation to do so. 

“I am someone who has had a safe abortion, so I thank the people who had helped me do that every day. I truly believe that everyone should have access to the legal abortion I had, so I will dedicate myself to ensuring that for the future of young women in this country. This is the first attack of a long line of attacks that are coming our way, so we need to be prepared and work together to fight back.”

Karen Gardner, another member of Progressive Women of Pelham, said, “I grew up in an age when this became law and when this law started to become threatened, I learned from my mother that she had an abortion. It was a family decision that she and my father made when she was going to have another child after me but early in the pregnancy, she got taken care of because they felt their family was set at size four. 

“I was beyond shocked to hear this especially because it was still illegal when she had it done. Luckily she had a good doctor that put her in touch with the right people, and many others in her community made a similar decision. 

“When Roe v. Wade passed it was a relief to so many because they could do it legally. But now, they are rolling back this right and telling women they are less than. There are people in power out there that do not want women to have a voice or equal rights which is bad for the future of feminism and our nation.”

People in Pelham, N.Y., protest the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022. (Hannah Steinberg )

Van Tran, an attendee of the march and vigil, said, “This decision really impacts the most vulnerable in our communities which are those living in poverty or people of color. I have people testifying saying that they are in Texas and can not get access to abortion and have no way to go do this or get help. What are we doing for these people? All these women are suffering because they do not have a right over their own bodies which impacts everyone.

“Regardless of the decision, the people who benefit the most from this are the ones who are impacted the most, which are the members of the government who are trying to control black and brown bodies and women of color. This to me is so frightening because what is going to happen next? It is ridiculous and we have to think about how it is going to drill down to everyone else. 

“We might not be personally impacted by it, but it doesn’t mean that someone else is since we are not in their shoes. We all need to rally together and fight for these individuals who do not have their own voices.”


(Story written and reported by Emily Boyle of Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey; Heather Harrison of Mississippi State;  and Hannah Steinberg of Pelham Memorial High School in New York. Photos taken by Boyle, Harrison, Steinberg, and Samantha Gormly of Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego.)

People in Washington Square Park in New York City protest the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022. (Samantha Gormly)

–July 6, 2022–