Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse on Friday evening to protest the decision made hours earlier by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the nationwide right to abortion.
“It’s appalling that people like me, who have spent a lifetime speaking about social justice and human rights, are watching everything erode,” said Mary Flodin of Santa Cruz. “It’s horrifying, utterly horrifying. I love my country, and I can see it coming apart at the seams.”
The crowd shouted and cheered for a handful of speakers that decried the decision, urging everyone to continue to make their voices heard and keep fighting.
“I’m outraged,” said former Santa Cruz County Clerk and current California Assembly candidate Gail Pellerin. “Make no mistake, we are living in two Americas—one that respects a woman’s right to abortion, and the other that sees the womb as a crime scene.”
Santa Cruz Community Health Centers Executive Director Leslie Conner pointed out that the same court recently struck down a law in New York banning the concealed carry of handguns, a startling contrast by a group that purports to favor life.
“Sisters, brothers, people, five religious zealots who do not represent the will of the people and the lying thug who did not win the popular vote and tipped the scales in their favor have now ensured the dystopian reality we’ve been fighting against for almost 50 years,” she said. “We’re here to protest the whole corrupt rotting lot of them.”
Veronica Hamilton, a labor organizer from UC Santa Cruz, suggested that people donate to funds that help women seek abortions from states that ban it.
The people affected most by the decision, she said, are people of color who choose abortion because of socio-economic inequities.
“This is not a single person issue, and everybody needs to be involved to fight back,” Hamilton said.
A man who identified himself only as “Casey” said he came to support women’s right to choose.
“The Supreme Court justices decided that a human right—the right to choose what to do with their bodies—is not a right anymore,” he said.
Casey pointed out that the same justices who said they considered Roe V. Wade the law of the land when they were nominated by former President Donald Trump—Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Barrett and Neil Gorsuch—were lying, and will likely go after other rights such as same-sex marriage and contraception next.
“No one is safe at this point,” he said.
Vannah, who also asked that her last name not be used, said she moved from Kentucky to California for its considerably more left-leaning politics, including the views here on same-sex marriage.
“The right to choose what I do with my body—under any circumstances—should be a codified right under the constitution, no matter what that choice is,” she said.