CLEVELAND — On the heels of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the nearly 50-year legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion in the United States, abortion-rights advocates have been on the march on Friday.
In Cleveland, a women's march took place on Lakeside Avenue. It was clear that advocates for abortion rights were sad, angry, and fired up.
3News' Brandon Simmons spoke to Kellie Copeland, Executive Director for ProChoice Ohio. Copeland says the decision by the Supreme Court sets our country back decades.
"To everyone who has had an abortion, who fought to make abortion legal or to keep it legal, I want you to know this is not the end," Copeland told 3News. "We will keep fighting. We will keep fighting for you, we will keep fighting with you. We will not surrender to this tyranny. Not now, not ever."
Copeland believes the court's ruling not only takes away rights from women to make a decision about their own bodies, but it heavily impacts women who don't have the means to travel states where abortion is more easily accessed. The organization says it will continue to focus their efforts on Ohio, hoping to make sure the laws here don't become more restrictive than they already are.
Later on Friday evening, the demonstrations centered on Lakeside and East 9th Streets, turning into a sit-down protest that closed the intersection for a time.
In Akron's Highland Square neighborhood, people shared their thoughts on Friday's momentous decision by the Supreme Court.
"I was thinking about all the friends that I have that are legitimately scared and have been worried about this day," said Jamie Keaton, an abortion-rights supporter.
"It's a very sad thing," added Ohio Rep. Emelia Sykes (D-34th District), who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives this fall. "And when I think about the fact that I will have fewer rights than my mother, that my niece will have fewer rights than her mother, it's sad."
"People need to vote. People need to make sure they're registered," said Summit County Clerk of Courts Sandra Kurt. "They need to know who the candidates are and they need to vote for the candidates that believe in what America stands for."
The biggest protests came in Columbus, where activists marched at the Statehouse chanting "My Body, My Choice." While some in support of the decision to overturn Roe came to the area early, they quickly gave way to a massive but peaceful crowd of those against it.
So what’s the next step for abortion-rights advocates? Right now, they can only appeal to the state legislature and that’s something they have to do at the polls. Groups are first organizing through events and asking people to vote for people who can affect change at the state level.
More coverage of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision:
- 'Let us respect each other': Gov. Mike DeWine holds statewide address after Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
- Cleveland Right to Life holds ‘celebratory reception’ after Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
- Ohio politicians, organizations react to Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade
- What the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade means for Ohio