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On June 24, hundreds of people convened in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Hours earlier, the court had released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The 6-3 opinion had overturned Roe v. Wade, ending federal abortion protections in the United States that had been in place for nearly 50 years.
And so people found themselves in front of that marble building Friday afternoon filled with emotion — some distraught, some ebullient. Some went with friends. Some went as part of organized groups. Some went alone. And some brought their children.
Signs at post-Roe protests across the country pointed to parents or grandparents having more access to abortion than the next generation. Photo editor Lydia Chebbine went to the court that afternoon. She talked to parents who brought their children — when she was there, the vast majority of protesters, particularly those with children in tow, were abortion rights supporters. They told The 19th that they wanted their children to see this new reality up close.
“I’m a Black woman, and even when I was pregnant, I experienced fear around giving birth. The fact that women no longer have the choice, they can no longer make those decisions for themselves, is the reason we decided to bring her here today.”
– Nyla Harrison
Emily Blake, with her two sons, 6 & 4
“I have two boys, and I want this to be etched in their memory. I hope to God by the time they get old enough that this will have been reversed.”
– Emily Blake
Eli Szenes-Strauss, 37, and daughter Etta, 3
“What we told her is that this is a party about being fair. We spent a lot of time making sure that she knows that she is the only person that owns her body. And that we were coming to this party to be with a lot of other people who want to celebrate how important it is to be fair about who owns our bodies. We wanted her to have early memories and exposure to participating in society.”
– Eli Szenes-Strauss
Silvert Watel, 48, Nikki Reisth, 44, and daughter Zora, 4
“I grew up protesting, because I think protest is patriotic. Dissent is patriotic. And we have a hell of a lot to fight about right now, because we’re seeing our rights stripped away. We’re seeing this country turn into a capitalist theocracy and it’s critical that my daughter knows what it is to defend human rights, because it’s not just about her, it’s not just about me, it’s about everyone. If we don’t stand up and fight back, if we don’t defend our rights, we’re going to see injustices multiply and inequalities devastate the fabric of this country.”
– Nikki Reisth
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Roxanne Brown, 43, and daughter Eden, 5
“This is a really pivotal day. It’s kind of cliché, but this day really is about her future. I have had the luxury of living under the law of the land that was protective of women and women’s rights my entire life as a 43-year-old. Today, at 5, those rights have been stripped from her and we don’t know how long it’s going to take for us to get them back, but we’re going to get them back.
I want her to understand that in order to get change, you need collective action. That this is something that is so important, it’s going to take more than just her, and us, to fix it. It’s going to take all of us together and even more people who aren’t even here so that she starts to understand the power of collective action.”
– Roxanne Brown
Julia Lovett, 33, and daughter, Lovett, 1
“I’m outraged that she won’t grow up with the same protections that I was born with. It’s outrageous, and I want to fight for her with everything I’ve got.”
– Julia Lovett
Lesley Zork, 64, and daughter Jessie-Ann Kohlman, 28
“One of the most recent protests we did together was the Women’s March with my grandmother before she passed away a few years ago. Maybe it’s just because I’m from here, but [my mother] has been bringing me down [to the Supreme Court] or to the White House my whole life. It’s definitely been something that she’s instilled in me since I was younger.”
– Jessie-Ann Kohlman
Jocelyn Canas, 33, and daughter Olive, 9
“She has been participating in rallies and marches for the majority of her life. I believe it’s important that she sees that our voices are power.
I want her to understand that her presence is necessary. We participate in everything locally, but we would definitely love to travel to support women. Women supporting women is something I would love for her to internalize.”