Appalled, but not surprised: Seattleites react to SCOTUS ruling on Roe
People in Seattle and across Washington state are reacting to today's Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortions nationwide. Although abortions remain legal in Washington, people who were out enjoying the summer sun had strong opinions about the historic decision.
Carol Dole, pictured above, said she was "appalled" by the Supreme Court ruling.
"I'm scared, for all the women who deserve to take care of their bodies in the way they want to," said Dole, who lives in Jackson Park.
She was walking the Meadowbrook Pond trail with her friend, Rebecca Dietz, of Wedgewood. Dietz predicted chaos as women requiring abortions are forced to cross state lines to get the medical help they need.
"I have always given money, I have been a volunteer at various organizations, NARAL, Planned Parenthood — that's not gonna stop," Dietz said. "I just feel like all of us, you need to bring it up in conversation with people who aren't comfortable about it. You need to continue to get out and vote. Your vote does matter. Your local officials do matter. Who runs your state Legislature does matter."
Cindy House lives in Kent, and teaches a fitness class for older adults at the Meadowbrook Community Center in Seattle.
After her class was dismissed, she shared her thoughts about some states outlawing abortion following the court’s decision.
“I really feel that each individual woman should have her own right to make a decision on her own body," House said. "When somebody doesn’t want something, they don’t give it the care it needs.”
She says babies suffer – and mothers don’t get the help they need either.
“Well, then you have the baby, and you have no support," she explained. "So it’s hard, it makes life hard for the baby, it makes life hard for the parents, too. Nobody wins when you can’t make your own choice.”
Donna Schaeffer, a former rape crisis counselor and a member of House's fitness class, says she’s sorry to see the change in the law.
“I don’t love abortion, I wish we wouldn’t need to have them," she said. "But let’s face it. People do get raped. There are cases of incest. And some people are just not capable of being a good parent. And the idea of a lot of children being born and not being really loved and possibly being victims of child abuse – it’s really horrible to me.”
Not everyone at the Meadowbrook Community Center Friday shared the same strong feelings.
Carmen Martinez (pictured above) said abortions and access to them is a difficult topic to talk about. In some cases, she thinks it needs to be legal. In others, she doesn’t agree.
Martinez says many things need to be taken into account.
“It’s difficult, this answer," she explained. "You have to take your religion, many things about this question” into account.
Martinez says she'd support a family member if their life was at risk and they needed an abortion.
Herrieta Obriko (pictured above) says she knew this decision was coming.
She pointed out that abortion remains legal in Washington state. Obriko says she believes sometimes people in more conservative states should experience the impact of their votes.
"I do believe that sometimes we liberals should just allow the people in the red states to experience the impact of their decision to vote for people who don't take them seriously," Obriko explained. "Because that's the only way they're going to learn."
Obriko says a lot of young people don't vote because they don't care. She says particularly when young people see negative impacts that affect their lives, they might become more politically active.
Thaddeus Gunn, from Seattle's Lake City Neighborhood, was taking a walk around Meadowbrook Pond with Theresa Gunn (both pictured above).
Thaddeus predicted political upheaval following the Supreme Court decision.
“Considering it was leaked, it wasn’t surprising,” he said. “But now that it’s official, I that we’re going to see organizing and resistance on a scale we haven’t seen in 100 years in this country.”
Theresa Gunn agreed and suggested it was time to start reaching out to people who don't vote to convince them to get politically active.
"I think now it's time to get back in contact with those people and say, 'Is this what you thought was going to happen? And if you didn't, what are we gonna do?'" she asked.
Abortion rights supporter Elizabeth Bixler (pictured above) says she's feeling angry, disappointed and a little hopeless.
"I was there when abortions were illegal," Bixler said. "I saw the harm. I saw that and Roe vs. Wade was a good thing and now they're taking us backwards."
Bixler says she feels old and isn't sure what she'll do next, but wants to support the younger generations in whatever action they take.
As for her own mental health, Bixler says she deals with grief through small acts of service, such as picking up litter in the Meadowbrook Community Center Parking Lot.
She says she has a recording of President Obama on her answering machine (from back during his presidential campaign), which she listens to when she needs to feel better.
After hearing the news about Roe today, she says, “I think I might go home and listen to it.”