Protesters from both sides gather in downtown Indy

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A protest reflecting what’s to come for Roe v. Wade and access to safe abortion came to a head in federal district court in Indianapolis.

The possible overturning of the right to abortion by a Supreme Court ruling brought protesters to the Southern District of Indiana courthouse on Tuesday, part of a nationwide appeal by the organization Women’s March.

Judge Samuel Alito’s opinion states both that Roe v. Wade of 1973, which protects the federal right to abortion, and the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, should be canceled.

The initial draft of the advisory was leaked and then reported by Politico this week. The court was due to issue an opinion in June.

After:Indiana would likely ban abortion if Roe v. Wade was falling. What about its neighboring states?

About 90 protesters in the draft notice shared feelings of anger and disappointment while many held signs reflecting those emotions.

Abortion rights supporters march from the Indiana Statehouse to the federal courthouse on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Indianapolis.

“An assault rifle has more rights than my womb,” read one sign. “Abortion bans only end safe abortions,” read another sign.

“We’re not going back,” the crowd shouted in unison.

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Family physician Indy: “People shouldn’t feel like they can’t get services.”

Dr Alison Case, a family doctor who attended the protest, said abortion is a medical procedure, but misinformation has made it a topic of debate in the country.

Abortion is still legal in Indiana, and people shouldn’t forget that, said Case, who lives in Indianapolis.

“People shouldn’t feel like they can’t get services,” Case said. “The majority of Indiana residents do not want an abortion ban.”

Case said abortions, both procedures and medications, are critical health care. Case is also an abortion provider at a clinic, not her practice, which is why she chose to attend the protest, she said.

The most vulnerable communities, such as Black and Indigenous women and LGBT people, will suffer the most from the SCOTUS ruling, Case said.

“People who can afford it will still be able to access abortion,” Case said. “Something like that makes a lot of people in Indiana not be able to do it.

After:Leaked draft Supreme Court opinion: What it could mean for abortion rights in Indiana

Abortion rights and anti-abortion rights supporters gather for a protest at the Indiana Federal Courthouse Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Indianapolis.

“We’re stepping back in time,” the Brooklyn family doctor said during a protest against Indy.

Dr. Crystal Marquez, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, said she woke up to the news of Wade’s draft.

“People before me paved the way for us to have these rights and these rights are human rights,” Marquez said. “Abortion is a safe and legal procedure and if you take it away, women will die because they are always going to have an abortion.”

Marquez is attending a family medicine educators conference in Indianapolis this week.

Marquez often thinks of times in her life when she could have or needed to have access to an abortion, and having that right taken away terrifies her, she said.

“We’re stepping back in time,” Marquez said.

Anti-abortion groups voice support for possible decision to end Roe V. Wade

Titus and Kris Folks of Bloomington came out to express their support for SCOTUS’ initial decision. Kris said she was optimistic but nervous about whether their decision would be final.

Titus is an organizer for Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion nonprofit. Titus and a dozen anti-abortion protesters came out to counter the protest.

In Indiana, Titus said the organization surveys lawmakers to find out their position on abortion.

They hope to reach the ears of state lawmakers who would sponsor a ban on medical abortions and the Life at Conception Act, which would recognize a fetus as a human under the law.

Titus said they did not trust Governor Eric Holcomb enough to work with him directly.

“We don’t believe he (Holcomb) has our best interests when it comes to life’s issues and we don’t trust a lot of Republican leaders,” Titus said.

Holcomb’s office released a statement on the SCOTUS controversy in which it said it was awaiting finality.

“Before commenting further on a draft document released by the Supreme Court, like the rest of the country, I will wait to review the official and final decision that they will publish on this subject in the weeks and months to come,” said Holcomb.

More protests are planned in the Indianapolis area this week following the opinion leak.

Contact IndyStar General Assignment Reporter Rachel Fradette at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @Rachel_Fradette.

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