Roe v. Wade 50th anniversary draws Georgia advocates for and against abortion rights

A small group, including Stephanie Batchelor, left, sits on the steps of the Georgia state Capitol protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 26, 2022. A trial to determine whether Georgia can continue to ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy is set to begin in an Atlanta courtroom on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ben Gray, File)

Advocates who support and oppose access to abortion in Georgia are marking the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark United States Supreme Court decision establishing constitutional protections for abortion access. 

This year is the first anniversary of the 1973 ruling since the court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Abortion-rights supporters are expected to rally Sunday at the Georgia State Capitol building. 

That gathering follows an anti-abortion rights protest that took place on Friday. 

Last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling knocking down Roe cleared the way for Georgia’s 2019 abortion law, House Bill 481, to take effect. 

The law bans abortions after around six-weeks of pregnancy, when cardiac activity can be detected in the womb and before many women know they are pregnant. 

The state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this March in a lawsuit challenging H.B. 481.

Organizer Natalie Villasana said her coalition is seeking the repeal of Georgia’s ban. 

“This year should be a celebration or a moment to celebrate progress. But instead, we’re having to continue to fight for these fundamental democratic rights that were actually won decades ago and are being stripped away by politicians in power right now,” she said. 

The groups involved in organizing Sunday’s protest include the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Georgia NAACP and Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity and the Democratic Socialists of America.

Several dozen anti-abortion protesters gathered Friday at Liberty Plaza for the annual Georgia March for Life rally. 

They are pushing for further restrictions to abortion access in the state.

David Staygers traveled from Bartow County to Atlanta for the event. 

“We would not have any abortion allowed in the state of Georgia,” he told WABE politics reporter Rahul Bali.

Earlier in the week, Republican State House Speaker Jon Burns said he’s not looking to move on abortion this year as the state Supreme Court considers the H.B. 481 case.