• Jesse Hughes

I Was at the Court When Roe Was Overturned. This Is What Happened.

On Friday, June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released the ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, one of the most consequential rulings in our nation’s history. In the majority opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe v. Wade was “egregiously wrong from the start." As a result, Dobbs v. Jackson overturned the ruling of Roe v. Wade, a case ruled by SCOTUS in 1973 that legalized abortion up until birth in all fifty states. The reaction to the news from the pro-life crowd was a mixture of joy, enthusiasm, and shock. I was there to bear witness to it all.

Since May of 2022, I have been living in Washington D.C., working as an intern on Capitol Hill. The weeks leading up to June 24th were filled with an almost overwhelming mix of joy and dread as we all knew what was coming. Every day, the question was the same: “Will the ruling of Dobbs be announced this week?” As the weeks passed and more cases were released, it became more and more evident that we were getting closer to the ruling of Dobbs being announced. As time went on, tensions in the area grew. The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center was vandalized, adding to the list of pro-life organizations that have been attacked in 2022. Flyers were found around the city saying things like, “F— SCOTUS! We’ll do it anyway!” A pro-abortion group called Jane’s Revenge began threatening a “night of rage” if Roe was overturned. Because I live on the same block as the Court, I got to personally witness many of the protests occurring. Despite the threat of violence, the energy was still high on the side of life, and as we got closer to Friday, it became more clear what was coming.

The morning of the 24th was unlike any other morning I have experienced while being in D.C. As I got up and started getting ready, I could feel in my gut that today was the day. I had no reason for knowing; no one knew which cases would be released or when, but there was just something different about that day. I walked to my office and noticed the police presence around the Hill was much higher than usual. This only served to confirm my suspicions: “It’s happening today.” I got to my office around 9am and did my usual morning routine. Around 9:40am, myself and a few others left to go to the Court.

While walking to the Court, the silence was eerie. It was not completely silent, as you could hear the shouts of protestors echoing in the distance, but it was unusually quiet around the Capitol building. The only thing visible was a line of armored police vehicles that were not usually present, as well as Capitol Police armed with body armor and rifles.

As I approached the Court, I could see pro-life and pro-choice protestors divided into their own separate groups, awaiting the SCOTUS rulings to be released. I quickly joined my friends from Students for Life and waited. At 10:10 am, I bore witness to history. A single voice rose above the crowd: “They just dropped Dobbs!” The entire crowd fell still. It was quiet. Not a single person spoke as people raced to their phones to see what the decision would hold. It only lasted about 20 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Soon, the entire pro-life crowd broke into an uproar of cheers, screams, and joy. It was surreal. Roe v. Wade was dead. It was overturned. The countless hours of hard work and dedication that was poured in by every single person there had finally brought satisfaction. Some there had been alive in 1973 and had spent their entire life since fighting against Roe. Most of the people there were like myself: they had never known a pre-Roe world. But now we have finally become the post-Roe generation. I stood still. It felt unreal. I could not believe what was happening. As I stood there and processed what was going on, I watched as other pro-lifers celebrated. Some were cheering. Some were crying. Many were embracing one another. The spirit of joy was evident. And the pro-choicers? Defeated. I saw looks of shock, confusion, terror, and sadness. Many threw down their signs and simply walked away. They would come back much later and voice their outrage, but right now they just walked away.

Once the reality of what had happened finally settled in my mind, I looked and saw a friend who had graduated from Liberty very recently. I immediately ran over and we hugged. Soon after, two other friends came over and all four of us joined in an embrace. Unbeknownst to me at the time, every camera around was on us and the hug has since been broadcasted on multiple national news outlets several times. I have jokingly been referring to it since as the “hug seen around the world.”

There are nowhere near enough words in the English language to express the joy and elation I felt while at the Court that morning. Friday, June 24th, 2022 will be remembered for generations to come as one of the most consequential days in American history. I got to bear witness first hand to the events that children will learn about decades from now. It was one of the greatest moments in my life, and hopefully the pro-life movement will make sure it is remembered as one of the greatest days in American history. There is much work to be done in every single state, but the largest fight we have had for the last five decades has finally been won. We are the post-Roe generation. Now it is time to abolish abortion completely.

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