Large crowds of protesters gathered early on a chilly Wednesday morning in Washington as the Supreme Court prepared to hear a monumental abortion case.

As is typical in these abortion protests, pro-abortion activists gathered on the left side of the Supreme Court building while pro-life activists gathered on the right side. Leaders and activists on both sides spoke to the crowds on elevated platforms as speakers alternatively blared Christian, Christmas, country, or pop songs.

As the morning wore on, police separated the sides with a metal fence, although it wasn’t immediately clear why they did so. The Daily Signal observed few contentious interactions or behavior, though there was a strong police presence at the event.

Police said they arrested 33 people for obstructing traffic on Constitution avenue. It appears that those arrested were members of the left-wing organization, the Center for Popular Democracy Action.

The Supreme court heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization a case involving a 2018 Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks. Known as the Gestational Age Act, the law was blocked by a federal appellate court after abortion proponents challenged it on behalf of Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

After the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law in December 2019, the state of Mississippi asked the Supreme Court to take up the case. 

Dobbs is perhaps the most pivotal abortion cases in recent history as it directly challenges Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing abortion across the nation. The case addresses whether bans on abortion prior to fetal viability are constitutional. 

Outside the court, many pro-abortion protesters told The Daily Signal that women would die if Roe v. Wade is overturned. But pro-life protesters said that the move would empower states to decide abortion laws themselves.

The protests were heavily attended by young people — Liberty University bussed in about 1,000 students from Lynchburg, Virginia, students told The Daily Signal.

“We’re here representing the school; we’re praying for the justices as they begin to hear the cases,” a male Liberty University student told The Daily Signal.

“There were 21 buses that came and there were more on a wait list who couldn’t come because there simply wasn’t enough capacity on the buses to host as many of us who wanted to come,” a female student said. “I know that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of students back in Lynchburg, praying during our convocation, praying in groups of students, because this is such an important issue to us both as a school and as individuals.”

“I don’t think about the fetus as a baby. It’s OK if someone believes that, but you don’t have the right to impose your belief on someone else,” one pro-abortion protester told The Daily Signal. “There is no scientific consensus that a fetus is a baby.”

Some justices signaled Wednesday that they may vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

“This court should be scrupulously neutral on the question of abortion, neither pro-choice nor pro-life,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said, according to the publication.

Pro-life advocates expressed optimism as the arguments drew to a close.

“Millions of faithful Catholics across the nation are hopeful after today’s oral arguments that the Supreme Court of the United States will restore sanity to its abortion jurisprudence, which has enabled over 62 million American children to be aborted since 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided,” CatholicVote President Brian Burch said.

“It was clear today that the justices were carefully considering the arguments made, and we sincerely hope that the court reaches a result that protects life,” said Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for the Christian legal aid organization Alliance Defending Freedom.

“Mississippi’s commonsense law upholds America’s foundational respect for life, which is at odds with Roe,” she continued. “The U.S. is an extreme outlier in abortion law and policy, allowing late-term abortions and failing to protect the lives and health of unborn children and their mothers.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said in livestreamed remarks at the court that “life is truly the most important human rights cause of our time.”

“From abolition to suffrage to the civil rights movement, principled women and men throughout history have always stepped up to lead at pivotal moments like this,” Dannenfelser said.

“The pioneers of the women’s movement clearly understood the violent, oppressive nature of abortion, and they adamantly opposed it,” she added.

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