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Emotions run high in wake of SCOTUS ruling on abortion; law professor weighs in on future implications

A 5-4 vote among the U.S. Supreme Court justices overturned a nearly 50-year-old precedent and withdrew a piece of settled law.

NORFOLK, Va. — The historic Supreme Court decision, which sends the decision of abortion access to the states, announced Friday prompts emotional response across the board. As those reactions pour in, there is growing concern over the future of other rights protected by the 14th Amendment. 

On the heels of SCOTUS overturning nearly 50 years of precedent, people on both sides of the abortion debate are relentless in their advocacy. 

RELATED: Hampton Roads locals share passionate responses to SCOTUS ruling on Roe v. Wade

"The Supreme Court showed wisdom in the decision which overturned Roe v. Wade," said Olivia Gannes Turner, president of Virginia Society for Human Life

"We're being told we're not worthy of bodily autonomy," said Sara Resnick, director of operations with Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League

The organization's work, which provides logistical and financial aid to people who need abortion services, continues, as Resnick explained.

"We're seeing an influx already, and we're working very hard with a number of organizations across the state, abortion funds specifically," she said.  

Abortion is still legal in Virginia. However, known pro-life advocate Gov. Glenn Youngkin has called on lawmakers to enact new legislation.

"It is an opportunity now for all Americans and certainly for all Virginians to seek protective laws that respect mothers, provide help for their children," said Gannes Turner, who also expressed part of her mission is to let mothers know about options and resource for them aside from abortion.


Justice Clarence Thomas stated in a concurring opinion that other precedents should be reconsidered. The declaration is raising concern for the future of other right, such as birth control and same-sex marriage.

Both are protected under the 14th Amendment, just as abortion previously was.

RELATED: Virginia governor wants to tighten abortion laws following Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

William & Mary constitutional law professor Allison Larsen said there is reason to be concerned. 13News Now asked Larsen whether the overturn of Roe v. Wade opens the door to strike down those other rights. 

"Yes, and that's because of the reasoning Justice [Samuel] Alito used in his opinion. He says the word 'abortion' doesn't appear in the Constitution. And even though the word 'liberty' appears in the Constitution, it doesn't mean everything you want it to mean. And the way you limit it is you look through history and tradition," said Larsen. 

Larsen predicted what could play out from the highest court.

"That the rights would be hollowed by, for example, increased religious exceptions. So, accommodations based on religion to, for example, not bake a cake for a wedding between a gay couple," she guessed. 

Larsen, though, made it a point to say that what happens next is really anyone's guess and truly falls on the hands of the Justices.

On Sunday, June 26, an alliance of abortion rights supporters plan to gather for a "Speak Out Rally." The event will begin 11 a.m. at Lafayette Park in Norfolk. 

Participants can engage in storytelling sessions and advocate groups will offer resources. 

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