The U.S. Supreme Court Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, ending almost 50 years of protections for abortion rights.
The decision allows states to ban abortion, which means its impact will vary wildly depending on state. In Alaska, the state constitution protects abortion rights, but the federal high court’s decision moves abortion to the forefront of fast-approaching elections.
The Empire spoke to eight Juneauites downtown and in the Mendenhall Valley about how they feel about the Supreme Court decision and how they expect it to impact Alaskans.
Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Emily Chapel: “I’m feeling very angry about SCOTUS’ decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, this is going to cause irreparable damage to women and children that are born because they’re forced to be born. I do not believe that you should force somebody to give birth and I do not believe that SCOTUS has any rights to my uterus, I should be able to make those decisions for myself. I trust women in the decisions that they’re going to make and I think it’s really messed up right now that guns have more rights in this country than I do and that my daughter is going to have fewer rights than I did growing up as a result of this decision. It is wrong, it is unjust and it is immoral and I’m just very angry right now.”
Terra Stark: “It’s hard to find words. It feels like we’re just going backwards and it’s so baffling that this is even possible. I think it clearly affects those in lower income brackets and folks who aren’t as willing or folks who don’t have good access to medical support and medical advice. It’s a very real concern and I think especially in places like Alaska where rape is such a highly prevalent issue.”
Kyle Paul: “It’s completely ridiculous, it’s disastrous and it’s going to kill a lot of people, unfortunately. We, frankly, don’t have the right to decide on people’s bodies.”
Patricia Macklin: “Can you imagine waking up this morning to the newspaper saying that you are not considered a person in the country you were born in? Can you even fathom that? I’m very upset; of course it’s going to affect people here in Juneau. It all starts at local government level, at the school board, and then the assembly and while we might feel that in Alaska that our right to privacy and autonomy is guaranteed in our local State Constitution, what’s clear to me is that my friends and neighbors, and it’s been clear to me for a while now…some of my friends and some of my neighbors don’t like women and don’t like little girls and want us to be kept in our place.”
Bryan Graceland: “If God doesn’t like something and says not to do it then you probably shouldn’t, but don’t force your ways on other people, it’s an individual thing.”
Albert Howard: “Just seems like we’re becoming a country where government is involved in personal business and we’re losing our rights as citizens. I don’t agree with them doing things like that. I know across the whole country it affects people because you’re taking away a personal freedom to choose, I don’t agree with that. That’s not what this country was founded on.”
Magdalena Eyre: “I’m a strong believer in God and I believe every life is important; the women that are pregnant due to violent acts, I feel very badly for them, but you wouldn’t kill their child when they were 15. Anybody who takes a child’s life even if they’re in the womb is taking a human life and human life is the most important thing. I imagine some (in Juneau) are going to dislike it a lot, but I think for the most part most people will like it because human life is what life is all about”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.