Emotions continue to run high in Mid-South following Roe v. Wade decision

Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Saturday, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the case of Roe versus Wade, which effectively ends access to abortions in Mid-South states, was still fresh on many minds.

For nearly one hundred protestors, the decision motivated them to take to Beale Street and Downtown Memphis, marching and chanting against the decision.

The March was a part of Bans off our Bodies, a pro-choice movement associated with Planned Parenthood.

“I was just scared,” said Olive Branch resident Kaylee Camarada during the march. “I feel like being a woman today is scary. I feel it’s scary to know that my children won’t be awarded the same rights that I had.”

“I’m not surprised,” Angela Hochhauser of Covington said, talking about the court’s decision. “Even though friends and family told me this would never happen, of course it did.”

As far as current access to abortion, Arkansas has already abolished the practice through its trigger law, a law that takes effect should SCOTUS overturn a precedent.

Mississippi and Tennessee are close behind.

Hochhauser told us she’s worried about what the future looks like for her 10-year-old daughter.

“I’m terrified for her,” she said. “Anything can happen, even if it’s not just what people think of when they think of abortion. Maybe she’s my age and has an ectopic pregnancy and can’t get the procedure she needs and bleeds out. Maybe she’s raped, God forbid.”

For women in the Mid-South, the closest state where an abortion can be accessed is Illinois.

One Memphis abortion provider, CHOICES, announced they are expanding to Carbondale, IL to continue abortions.

“This was a dream come true,” said Bishop Vincent Mathews.

Bishop Mathews is the Pastor of Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Southaven, as well as a leader in the Church of God in Christ denomination, which was founded in Memphis.

He said this is an exciting time and that it’s the church’s responsibility to intensify its efforts to serve families who have their children.

“The church recognizes that people make mistakes,” Mathews said, referring to the stigma that churches judge those who have sex and get pregnant out of wedlock. “People fall, and a child cannot suffer for the sins of its father and mother. You come and be safe. You will be loved as a parent and your child will be accepted and loved.”

Tabernacle Church of God in Christ started the Family Life Campaign, which provides resources to struggling families facing difficult choices when it comes to unplanned pregnancies.

“We literally, four families last week, young families, furnished their apartments to make sure they are set,” Mathews said. “A society that has to stoop so low as to terminate the life of a baby infant to fulfill economic needs is a huge challenge.”

Mathews acknowledges the disproportionate number of abortions in the black community.

In Shelby County, 3,103 abortions were performed in 2019, the latest year in the Tennessee Department of Health’s database.

2,497 of those were abortions performed on black women.

However, Mathews said the court’s decision can benefit the black community and is going to make it his mission to provide resources to families.

“You don’t have to drive to Illinois,” he said. “You can drive right here to Southaven.”

For protestors against the court’s decision, they now look to the November mid-term election, in hopes the results are lawmakers in favor of abortion who can pass federal legislation to restore abortion access in the Mid-South.

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