Photo credit: Jo Freeman

Pro-choicers and pro-lifers conducted a non-violent shoving match in front of the Supreme Court, while inside the Court prepared to hear oral argument in the Texas abortion ban.

For the most part, only words were used.

As is common when there are opposing groups, the U.S. Capitol Police allowed separate speaking stands and microphones to be erected on the public sidewalk, separated by a fence.  The pro-lifers were louder. They had six amplifiers; the pro-choicers had two.  The former could be heard across the street.  The latter could barely be heard within 20 feet of their speakers’ stand.

People from both sides circulated freely.  Frequently the two groups mixed with each trying to out-shout the other.

Barriers kept everyone off of the steps and the plaza in front of the Court.

Usually, the press is allowed to set up on a small portion of the Plaza.  Not this time.

Pro-choicers declared Bans Off Our Bodies – the same theme as the October 2 women’s marches.

Pro-lifers demanded Let Their Hearts Beat.

Pro-choice speakers were largely women from Texas, each of whom told their personal abortion story.

This woman called herself the abortion diva from Houston

Pro-lifers mostly led prayers and chants while playing very loud music.

Like most of the pro-life speakers, this young man read his prayer from his phone

When they weren’t praying, pro-lifers celebrated what they saw as the coming end of legal abortion. Rev. Patrick Mahony, who acted like the head honcho, proclaimed “Roe v. Wade will end up on the scrap heap of history like chattel slavery.”

At the peak, there were only about three hundred people rambling about the sidewalk.  Judging from signs and t-shirts, there appeared to be more pro-choicers.  Demographically, both groups were largely white women. The pro-lifers had more men.  The pro-choicers had more people of color, men as well as women.  

Jo Freeman is a feminist scholar and author.
Copyright © 2021 Jo Freeman