|Mere moments after the US Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to an abortion last Friday, the highest court in the land was surrounded by protesters.
Americans had braved the baking heat in their hundreds to voice their fury at the ruling, vastly outnumbering the pro-life groups marking the occasion.
Weaving my way through the crowd, I was struck by how many of the demonstrators had never known a world without access to abortions.
Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling, had protected a woman’s right to choose for almost half a century.
The young women I interviewed seemed to be struggling to confront their new reality.
For many who waited in clinic waiting rooms as the ruling came down, the impact was immediate: they were being turned away.
Outside one such clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the very next day, I met with a very different crowd to the one before the Supreme Court.
Pro-life activists had gathered here to celebrate, some singing as they paraded by the clinic’s locked door.
The split-screen reaction was yet another illustration of America’s ever more stark political divide: jubilation and vindication on one side, fury and despair on the other.
Outside the Wisconsin clinic, pro-life activist Corrie, a 36-year-old who works for a non-profit, showed me the body camera she had strapped to her chest.
Did she fear for her safety? “Definitely,” she replied, describing the numerous threats she had faced from those on the other side of the debate.
One man, she said, had even brandished a gun.
“This is just a little extra protection and just to make sure everything’s okay,” she said, patting her camera.
Just behind her, two police officers stood barring the entrance to the clinic, suggesting the safety fears are felt on both sides.
With the Supreme Court ruling, a pre-Civil War law banning almost all abortions is once more in effect in Wisconsin.
The state is part of a patchwork of abortion “deserts”, leaving more than half of women of reproductive age unable to terminate pregnancies unless it is to save their own life.
While Republican-controlled states march towards greater restrictions, Democrat-controlled states have moved to shore up abortion access.
The checkered map reflects two Americas, divided not just on the issue of abortion, but also on gun rights, children’s education, and access to the ballot box.
For Corrie and her peers, the fight to criminalise abortions has not ended with the overturning of Roe v Wade.
While the clinic in Milwaukee has halted services, it has not closed down, instead helping women travel to the neighbouring blue states of Illinois and Minnesota.
“They were still open and so we still came out,” she said.
The debate is reverberating in election battlegrounds across the US.
But many fear this November’s midterm elections will drive these two Americas further apart, not closer together.
3 thoughts on “The Telegraph looking at the 5th week of June”