Etowah County reacts to SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe vs. Wade, a landmark case from 1973 that established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first trimester of pregnancy.

A draft of the opinion was leaked in May, which sparked outrage in the country that led to many protests even in Alabama.

In Etowah County, however, the ruling is drawing support.

Craig Carlisle, association missions strategist for the Etowah Baptist Association, welcomed it.

"I'm definitely pro-life and opposed to abortion," he said. It's a view shared by many Protestant churches.

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U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, whose District 4 includes Etowah County, issued a statement in support of the ruling, calling it "a watershed moment in the fight for life."

"Of course, this does not mean the end of abortions in the United States," he said. "The decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization only returns the responsibility of protecting the unborn to elected officials, and each state will govern independently on the issue, meaning that the fight for life will continue in many places across the country."

Local representatives also took to social media to share their opinions on the ruling, with Alabama District 39 Rep. Ginny Shaver and Mack Butler, top vote getter in the recent District 28 primary, sharing their thoughts on Facebook.

"As a former crisis pregnancy counselor and having been an advocate for pro-life legislation for over 40 years, today is a day we have prayed would come for decades," said Shaver, a Gadsden State Community College alumni. "Alabama is a pro-life state."

"All life is precious and created by God," Butler added. "Finally, the courts have recognized the rights of the unborn."

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However, there are still people who challenge the ruling, criticizing the court for its decision.

"It's a terrible tragedy for the country, as access to health care services for women, especially those who are poor or low-income, will be limited," Charles Abney, local chairman for the Democratic Party, said. "Only the rich and powerful people in this country will have access to this on a regular basis because of this ruling."

"Is it a decision I would make? No, but it should still be the decision of the person who it is affecting and not that of the state," Alyx Owen said in a public Facebook post.

"This is a very large overreach from an out-of-touch Supreme Court," Robert Hunter, co-founder of the RAIN Center, added. "It's the first steps into a counter-culture reaction that we see in America today."

Hunter added that he believes it is the "first step" in a "long chain reaction" based on the agenda of the Federalist Society, which multiple Supreme Court justices belong to.

"With the co-opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas, he says that any decision for a right to privacy that has been decided on in the last few decades, such as interracial and gay marriage, also needs to be looked at," he said. "It's no coincidence that the majority of these opinions are coming from Federalist Society members, including the lawsuit they crafted regarding the decision today."

Abney said that, while the Democratic Party supports the right to choose, he doesn't believe abortion "should be used very often."

"There needs to be an exception in place for cases such as rape and incest," he said.

While there currently are no official times and dates for a public demonstration in Etowah County, Hunter did confirm that the RAIN Center actively is working on getting one set up "within the next week, if not tomorrow."

While "excited about the change the ruling will bring," Carlisle said it also will require a lot of change on the part of churches.

Support will be needed for the increased need for foster care and adoption, he said.

"We need to be ready to address that," Carlisle said. If it means and end to "the killing of innocent babies," he said, "we welcome that challenge."

Aderholt echoed this statement, saying that he hoped "to see a shift towards adoptive services as an alternative to an abortion."

"As a co-chair for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I believe this can be a turning point for Congress to expand our efforts to ensure a safe future for our nation’s children born and unborn," he explained.

Regardless of the Supreme Court decision, those that provide resources to women who are pregnant plan to continue offering the same things they always have to the community.

"We will still help our community like we always will, it won't change anything," Tammy Harris, a representative of the Etowah Pregnancy Testing Center, said. "We don't really have much else to say on the matter as of right now."

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Roe v. Wade overturned: Etowah County, Alabama reacts