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Photos: Protesters gather in Raleigh after SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade

Kate Medley
for WUNC
Marlas Yvonne Whitley joins a crowd of protestors on Friday in downtown Raleigh, N.C., to demonstrate in opposition to the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

On Friday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its 6-3 decision to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion, reversing the longstanding Roe v. Wade ruling from 1973.

Hours later, pro-choice and women's rights supporters gathered in Raleigh to protest the polarizing decision.

Protesters began gathering near Raleigh's Bicentennial Plaza around 5:30 p.m.

Cheri Beasley — a former state Supreme Court Justice and now the Democratic nominee in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race — attended the protest and spoke in Raleigh's Nash Square.

"This decision completely dismantles our constitutionally protected right to make decisions for our own bodies and families without government interference," Beasley said.

For WUNC, photographer Kate Medley covered the protest. A collection of her photos from the evening are below.

Several other protests were scheduled to occur around the state Friday evening, including in the cities of Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville.

Gov. Roy Cooper is an abortion rights supporter and this year’s chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. He said Friday that North Carolina women will still be able to obtain reproductive health care in the state.

“For 50 years, women have relied on their constitutional right to make their own medical decisions, but today that right has been tragically ripped away,” Cooper said in a statement.

Kate Medley
for WUNC
Thousands of protestors gather in downtown Raleigh, N.C., on Friday evening to demonstrate in opposition to the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, others see the ruling as a major victory. The North Carolina Values Coalition — which bills itself as "non-partisan" and "pro-family" — is now calling on state lawmakers to restrict access to abortion. The state legislature is controlled by Republicans, but they lack veto-proof majorities.

To gain such a veto-proof majority, Republicans would need to flip a handful of seats in the state House and Senate in November's election.

Unlike many other southern states — such as Tennessee — North Carolina does not have a so-called trigger ban on abortions, or — like South Carolina — a law restricting abortions that was previously blocked by courts.

Women's healthcare providers, like Dr. Beverly Gray of Duke Health, expect to see more patients from these neighboring states. She is also the founder of the Duke Reproductive Health Equity and Advocacy Mobilization team.

"We're already seeing more phone calls from patients out of state, who need care. who are trying to navigate all the different hurdles they have to go through to get care," Gray said. "We have to continue advocating, we have to continue fighting. And we can't give up hope that we will be able to maintain the health care that's right for people. The health care that's necessary for people."

The Associated Press, and WUNC's Jason deBruyn and Sascha Cordner contributed to this report.

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.