WASHINGTON — Demonstrations and large gatherings are planned outside the Supreme Court building on Wednesday as justices hear one of the biggest challenges to abortion rights in decades.
Oral arguments will be held in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization case from Mississippi, where state officials hope to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in an effort to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Supporters on both sides of the issue plan to rally outside the building as the case unfolds.
Both the Metropolitan Police Department and US Capitol Police told WUSA9 on Tuesday that officers would be monitoring the situation and planning accordingly with federal law enforcement teams.
One group, the Center for Popular Democracy, plans to hold a protest around noon on Wednesday and then participate in "non-violent civil disobedience" after the hearing.
"There will be rallies. There will be protests. There are people coming in from all over the country," said organizer Kristin Mink, who said protesters planned to refuse to leave in front of the Supreme Court building. "It is risking arrest. It is an act of civil disobedience. It’s important that folks' voices are heard.”
The group expects more than 100 abortion providers, patients, and supporters to join them for the gathering.
Mink told WUSA9 that she was impacted by the issue personally after she took abortion pills between her first and second child after finding out her baby was not viable.
She called the Mississippi case the "most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade" and one that would impact lives all across the country.
"If I had not been able to access abortion, my life would be very different right now and I would not have the two children that I do today. My own health would have been at risk potentially," she said. "That is what allowed me to stay healthy myself and it’s what allowed me to try for our second child who we have now.”
Both pro-choice and pro-life groups had gathered outside the Supreme Court building early on Wednesday morning, hoping to make their voices heard.
The Alliance Defending Freedom told WUSA9 it planned to attend a rally organized by the Mississippi attorney general outside the Supreme Court building.
"We are hoping that the Supreme Court will return that issue to the states where it belongs," said attorney Erin Hawley. "I don’t think the case could be bigger. There’s not been a straight-on challenge to Roe v. Wade for 30 years.”
Hawley believed that a win for Mississippi would mean that abortion access could instead be decided more directly by voters and state leaders.
"That means that state legislators will again be able to act on this policy decision. It means pro-life groups like ADF will go to state legislators and advocate for life," she said. "You would have pro-life advocates going to those states and saying we think each life is deserving of protection.”
The rally of pro-life supporters is expected to begin around 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Moving forward, both women said the decision reached by the Supreme Court would have a far-reaching impact.
"We’re really hoping that the Supreme Court goes ahead and overrules Roe," Hawley said.
"We are fighting for lives out there by trying to prevent Roe v. Wade from being overturned," said Mink.