NewsTopic Takeovers


Looking back: What happened in Arizona when Roe v. Wade was overturned

Posted at 4:00 AM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 12:59:16-04

PHOENIX — June 24, 2022, will be remembered by many. The day that Roe v. Wade was reversed was a historic day all across the United States. Here in Arizona, we saw peaceful protests that turned more destructive as the night went on.

Thousands of people filled the streets of Downtown Phoenix just hours after the decision came down.

ABC15’s Katie Raml was in the middle of protests, speaking with many Arizonans who wanted their voices to be heard. One of those people was Phyllis Lesniak.

"I did it once before 50 or so years ago (in New York City) and so I know the drill. (Back then,) it was wild and it was great, I mean the huge crowds and we were very optimistic. We were sure we would win. We did, it just wasn’t permanent. So we have to start again," Lesniak said.

ABC15 also spoke with moms like Jackie Allen, who say the day was overwhelming.

Abortion Arizona
Thousands of protesters march around the Arizona Capitol after the Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision Friday, June 24, 2022, in Phoenix. The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, a fundamental and deeply personal change for Americans' lives after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade. The court’s overturning of the landmark court ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

“I woke up and I just felt paralyzed, and I am a mother of 10. I did not choose to abort two unwanted, well, unplanned pregnancies, but I would never take that right away to do so if you felt the need. And I just felt like I had to do something," Allen said.

Her sign read: “Christian mother and Pro-choice.”

She explained why she was carrying it.

“Because I don't think that any one of these things excludes the other. And I want that to be clear that we can allow other people freedom of choice, regardless of what we would choose for ourselves.”

There were also about a dozen anti-abortion protesters who stood along the march route.

As the sun began to fall, the march ended back on capital grounds while the legislature was still in session. Eventually, chaos ensued.

Video circulating on social media shows some people shaking the glass doors of the legislature, and law enforcement officials with the Department of Public Safety firing tear gas and flash-bang grenades into the crowd from above. That sent many people running.

Supreme Court Abortion Arizona
Riot police surround the Arizona Capitol after protesters reached the front of the Arizona Sentate building following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade Friday, June 24, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

While that was happening, someone defaced some of the state memorials. No one was arrested for that.

Following the damage to the capital, protective fencing went up around the buildings, to prevent the protests that followed from entering the capital grounds.

Charges against some protesters arrested during local abortion rights rallies were also dropped, according to Maricopa County court records.