On June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned and thrown into the ash heap of history. My name is Natalee Wilson, and as the President of Regent University Students for Life and a Student Spokesperson for Students for Life of America, I have been advocating for life for almost three years. When I woke up on June 24th, 2022 to get on a train to Washington DC, I had no idea how much my life was going to change.
When I left for DC for the Students for Life of America National Leaders Collective, a conference of the top 200 student leaders for life in the nation, June 24th was not a scheduled Dobbs decision day. However, instead of going to the hotel when I arrived, I was told to meet some of those attending the conference at the Supreme Court.
Upon arriving at the court, pro-abortion advocates were already there, decked out in green, screaming and chanting: “Pro-life is a lie!” and “Bans off our bodies!” Our wonderful security team got us safely to the specific area we were supposed to be in, and we immediately started countering their cheers: “Let their hearts beat!” and “Protection at conception!” For about an hour and a half all you could hear was bullhorns back and forth on both sides as we waited anxiously. On the pro-life side, spirits were high and hopeful, but no one knew for sure what was going to happen. Despite the leaked draft opinion favoring the reversal of Roe from early May, I was still very nervous.
At 10:10 AM, Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, took to the microphone to announce that the decision had been released. Immediately, it was silent. In the three times I had stood outside of the Supreme Court for this decision alone, I had never heard it so quiet. The silence seemed to last forever. Then Kristan Hawkins read the decision, “The Constitution does not confer the right to abortion.” As she read the word “does not,” I looked around to see if this was actually happening. My jaw dropped, and by the end of the sentence, tears were streaming down my face. There was not a dry eye in the crowd.
So many emotions swirled around in my mind. This was something for which I had fought for so long and truly believed was possible, but it was still such a surprise. I couldn’t help but think about the hundreds of babies that would be saved immediately due to the trigger laws. I thought about all the women who will get the resources they need to choose life. I thought about the 1,030 days that I had personally spent fighting for life. I thought about all the doors that I had knocked on, texts I had sent, and phones I had called trying to get pro-life legislation into place. I thought about all the hours spent praying outside of Planned Parenthood, all of the hate comments, DMs, and friends that I had lost over the issue. In a split second, all of the hardships that followed fighting for life were worth it.
I also thought about all the people who were saddened and angry at the decision. My heart broke knowing that they truly believed that their rights were being taken away. I had said for so long that Roe v. Wade would be overturned in my lifetime, and people had told me that it was impossible. But it wasn’t impossible, because my God is the God of impossible. I know, without a doubt, that His hand was in this decision. Right before the decision came down, many of us held hands and prayed together, and it was during our prayer that the justices voted. That moment in itself was so powerful.
I was so grateful to be present in such a momentous and historical event with some of my closest pro-life friends. My teary smile widened as bubble machines were turned on and music flooded the crowd. We celebrated by dancing and singing to “God Bless the USA,” “Party in the USA,” and “Sweet Caroline.” I will never forget the events that occurred right after the decision was announced because those events were symbolic of a 49-year-long fight come to fruition.
I was not the only Regent student present that day. Ryley Garrido and Drew Zinn are Regent students who are interning for a Christian nonprofit this summer in DC. They received the privilege to be in front of the Supreme Court as well.
Upon asking them about their first reactions to hearing the decision, Ryley stated that his immediate reaction was “both expectation and disbelief. With the leak of the decision, my expectation was that it would be overturned, yet when it happened it was still a moment of disbelief.” Drew stated, “Each of us celebrated in our own way; some of us cried, some of us jumped for joy, but all of us were ecstatic that the Supreme Court had overturned its most egregious decision and once again allowed states to protect the unborn. I was filled with joy, excitement, and hope for the future of America.”
Ryley describes the scene that day saying, “Pro-life advocates were singing along to music that was being played, waving their signs around as well as getting pictures in front of the court, myself included.” He is hopeful that at some point in his lifetime, Congress will eventually pass a national abortion ban. Drew stated, “It was so surreal to be at the Supreme Court the day Roe v. Wade was overturned, something that, for years, many cynical Christians, myself included, believed would never happen. I saw the pure joy on the faces of so many in the pro-life movement who had worked and prayed so hard for the end of Roe for so many years. Finally, God had answered our prayers. What I saw that day was a true testament to how Christians can make a difference in politics and the public square.”
I am so excited to be a part of the very first post-Roe generation! This is the dawn of a new era, and it is just the beginning. This is now a state-by-state battle, and I will not stop fighting for life until abortion is unavailable and unthinkable. If you want to get involved in the pro-life movement and join me in the fight to save lives, change minds, and soften hearts, all while spreading the gospel, DM me on Instagram at @nataleewilson.life!
Feature image from The Georgia Bulletin.