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Oregonians contemplate the increasing likelihood that Roe v. Wade will be overturned

While some people are terrified at the prospect of losing abortion rights, others say they've been waiting for this for decades.

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's a controversial topic, one that had many people in Portland talking on Tuesday. The day prior, Politico published a draft opinion from the Supreme Court, suggesting that the court's conservative majority is in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Chief Justice John Roberts later confirmed the document's legitimacy, but called the leak an "egregious breach of trust." 

The draft opinion does not represent a final decision, but that's not stopping Portland abortion rights advocates from bracing for what could happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

RELATED: Abortion jumps to center stage in race for Oregon governor

"When we think about clamping down on access, we are basically seeing folks who are in elected office use that power to impose judgment — and for folks who are pregnant, we don't know the circumstances," said Christel Allen, the executive director of Pro-Choice Oregon.

Allen told KGW that abortion rights impact more than just women.

"Abortion care is healthcare and it really does impact all of us, all of our families," she said.

Allen's perspective is backed by Oregon's own longstanding laws and policies, but there are others in the state applauding the Supreme Court's draft decision.

RELATED: Inslee, elected leaders attend abortion-rights rally in Seattle

"For pro-life Oregonians and Americans across the country this is what we've been hoping for since 1973," said Lois Anderson, who runs Oregon Right to Life. 

Governor Kate Brown expressed her opinion on Twitter, saying that all Americans should have access to abortion, "full stop."

Senator Ron Wyden released this statement:

"The Republican party has set the stage for a total erosion of Americans’ constitutional rights. They have made clear they won't stop at gutting the right for a woman to make decisions about her own body. Republicans know that the majority of Americans don’t support eroding fundamental rights like privacy, so instead, they packed the Supreme Court with right-wing extremists willing to do their dirty work behind closed doors.

"This is a five alarm fire. If this is the final decision, the United States will be one of a handful of countries in the world moving backwards on women’s rights. The overturning of Roe would mark a devastating loss of constitutionally guaranteed bodily autonomy and privacy for more than half of America.

"Let me be clear: abortion is health care. Ending this protected and established right — a right generations of women have now known and that the overwhelming majority of Americans support — would harm the health, safety, and lives of millions of women and families. This is going to be the fight of our lives, and we must use every tool at our disposal to stop this attack on constitutionally guaranteed rights." 

RELATED: Oregon and Washington would feel ripple effect of a Roe v. Wade reversal

A local clinic where abortions are performed also took to Twitter, reminding people they'll continue to provide those services.

KGW also talked with several Portlanders on the city streets Tuesday who expressed concerns about the draft opinion:

"As a woman — somebody with a uterus — its very scary. I'm pretty terrified about it. I think it sets us back quite a bit," one woman told KGW.

"I believe in everybody's freedom of decision over their own bodies," said Sean Mercer.

Tuesday evening, hundreds of Portlanders took to the streets in demonstrations against the opinion, converging outside of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse downtown and on the Portland State University campus. Many of those at PSU then marched through downtown.

"We cannot risk to lose women's choice," said Irma Murauskas. "I have been fighting this fight since my 20s — so for forty years I've been holding this sign. It never seems to end."

"The part that makes me so angry is that women who have privilege, who end up in states that ban abortion, will still be able to get abortions," explained Megan Lewis. "The problem is poor women, Black and brown women who already face so much marginalization in the healthcare system are going to be further marginalized."

While the leak of the Supreme Court's draft opinion was unexpected, some — like Jennifer Lincoln, a Portland OB-GYN — said they saw the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade coming.

"Abortion is healthcare," said Lincoln, "and when we tell 50% of the population that they are no longer in charge of their bodies, we tell them that they are second-class citizens and we tell them that they are not in charge of what they want to do with their lives."

Credit: PPB

Portland police said some people vandalized coffee shops and government buildings during the demonstrations. According to police, burning material and incendiary devices were thrown at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, but no injuries were reported and it's unknown if there was any damage.

Police arrested a man on charges of reckless burning and disorderly conduct in the second degree.

Ostensibly, the leaked Supreme Court document does not represent the court's final decision — and the fact that it was leaked is extremely rare, though leaks from the court are not unprecedented. The final ruling is expected no later than the end of June.


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