Locals protest Supreme Court abortion ruling at Enumclaw City Hall

“I’m… doing this for my granddaughter — she’s 18 and I want to make sure she has all the freedom I had.”

More than 50 people — ages 17 to 70 — gathered in front of Enumclaw’s City Hall to protest the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of the legal precedent on abortions set by Roe v. Wade.

Abortion remains legal in Washington State, but the new ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Woman’s Health Organization, passed down June 24, reverses the constitutional right to abortion recognized Roe v. Wade and hands the decision back to each individual state. Thirteen states — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming already had “trigger laws” on their books to place bans on abortions in the event Roe was overturned. Others are planning to follow suit.

The rally, held June 30, was organized by local Lizzy Tolbert, 18.

“I’m here because I’m angry. I’m here because I’m fighting for the people in those 13 trigger-ban states that aren’t going to have the right to choose the fundamental right and freedom to pursue their life. I’m here because I have too many sisters, too many girl friends, too many … females in my life that I know are going to be impacted by this ruling,” she said in an interview before making a speech before the rally attendees. “And I’m here to show just because I’m in a blue state that is going to protect abortion that I’m still going to be fighting for everyone else who can’t.”

Tolbert noted the wide range of ages at the event.

“I think it speaks volumes that we have old and young out here saying this isn’t right,” she said. “It warms my heart. It makes me a little less depressed and scared for the future.”

Patty Erwin, 72, was pregnant with her second child when Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973.

“My whole family was just in shock” when the Supreme Court officially overruled Roe, she said. “I’m kind of doing this for my granddaughter — she’s 18 and I want to make sure she has all the freedom I had.”

Also attending was Tyler Crane, 47, who was holding a sign supporting abortion choice next to his wife and young daughter.

“When you take an issue as complex as abortion, as complex as all of the intricacies that are going to go into that kind of decision, and to just make a blanket statement that we’re going to arbitrarily going to take away something that’s a right — it’s just wrong,” he said. “I think the Supreme Court has been manipulated in the way that the justices are, and I don’t think they’re speaking for the people anymore.”

Attendees did not report any counter-protestors at the event.


Abortion is nothing new in human history, and can be traced back far before the modern era.

In early America, historical records appear to show that abortion was, if not uncommon, then at least socially frowned-upon from the nation’s founding into the mid-1800s. At the time, it was not illegal to get an abortion before “quickening”, or when an expecting mother can feel the baby move.

By the mid-19th century, the medical community began to note that abortion was becoming more and more commonplace, at least for married women in urban areas and among the middle and upper classes. Some scholars believe abortions became more prevalent among natural-born Americans — rather than immigrants — because of the population’s decrease in family size and birth rates; others at the time blamed a rise in materialism, as America switched from an agricultural society to an industrial one, and still more associated the increase to the rising woman’s rights movement.

There was vociferous opposition to abortion at the time, at least among doctors and religious leaders, proponents of birth control and contraceptives, and elected officials; laws restricting or outright banning abortions became strengthened and more enforced after the 1860s.

This vocal opposition continued into the early 1900s, but abortions appeared to remain a common procedure because a widespread number of Americans were indifferent to the issue, despite paying “lip service” to anti-abortion rhetoric, according to a 1974 article found in Journal Storage (JSOTR), “Attitudes to Abortion in America, 1800-1973”.

Attitudes among medical professionals and the popular press at the time began to shift in the 1930s, but appeared to really take a turn by World War II, when women began to enter the workforce en masse. By the 1960s, discussion on exceptions to otherwise illegal abortions — in cases of rape and incest, specifically — started to make appearances in media, and public opinion appeared to be widely swayed toward making abortion laws more flexible.

One 1965 poll of 5,600 women showed that 87 percent of respondents believed an abortion should be legal to save the mother’s life. Another 50 percent believed it should be legal in the case of the child being deformed, and another 52 percent thought abortion should be allowed in the case of rape. Only 8 percent indicated abortion should be legal in all instances.

A 1969 Gallup Poll showed 40 percent of the American public overall supported an abortion in early pregnancies — 12 weeks or less. By 1972, that number increased to 46 percent.

And then — Roe.


Gallup polls since the landmark ruling shows abortion support in some, most, and all circumstances has only increased.

By 1975, Gallup polls showed 54 percent of Americans believed abortion should be “legal only under certain circumstances”; 22 percent believed it should be illegal in all circumstances, and another 21 percent believed it should be legal in all circumstances.

According to the 2022 poll, support for abortions in any circumstance has reached a historical peak at 35 percent. Another 50 percent of people believe it should be legal only under some circumstances; 18 percent of those say most circumstances, another 32 percent say only a few. Support for making all abortions illegal has reached an all-time low of 13 percent.

A 2018 poll shows 83 percent of Americans believe an abortion should be legal if the mother’s life is in danger during the first three months of pregnancy, according to Gallup. Another 77 percent say it should be legal if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, and 67 percent of people say it should be legal if the child would be born with a life-threatening illness.

Another 56 percent of people say an abortion should be allowed if the child was born mentally disabled (though only 49 percent say it should be legal if the child has Down Syndrome) during the first three months of pregnancy.

Only 45 percent of Americans indicated an abortion should be allowed if the woman doesn’t want the child for any reason during the first trimester; the discrepancy between support for legalizing all abortions in this survey, as opposed to other Gallup polls, is unclear.

Support for each category drops when the pregnancy is in its last three months.

Different organizations give different statistics as to how many abortions are performed every year, but the Guttmacher Institute recorded 744,000 abortions being performed in 1973. In 1990, the Institute noted a peak of 1.6 million abortions. Since then, it claims abortion rates has fallen to 930,000 in 2020.

2016 Guttmacher data shows the supermajority of abortions — more than 65 percent — happen by the 8-week mark. Overall, 88 percent of abortions are done in the first 12 weeks. Only 1.3 percent of abortions are performed at or after 21 weeks, which have been coined as “late-term abortions”.

Fetus viability, or when a child can survive outside the womb, is generally accepted to be around 23 or 24 weeks.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, most women (94 percent) who reported having an abortion after 21 weeks did so because of some barrier restricting them from abortion access. Of those reasons, raising money for the procedure or other related costs was the largest hurdle (65 percent), followed by not being aware of the pregnancy until reaching 21 weeks (45 percent).

Other barriers included difficulty in insurance coverage (41 percent), trouble deciding about an abortion (40 percent), not knowing where to receive abortion services (38 percent), difficulty in getting to an abortion facility (27 percent), and disagreeing with the man involved in the pregnancy about the abortion (20 percent).

Rally organizer Lizzy Tolbert gave an impassioned speech about fighting for abortion rights during the rally. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Rally organizer Lizzy Tolbert gave an impassioned speech about fighting for abortion rights during the rally. Photo by Ray Miller-Still