Pro-choice, pro-life demonstrators rally at Capitol following Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade

MADISON, Wis. — Pro-choice and pro-life demonstrators gathered outside the Wisconsin State Capitol Friday night, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade precedent that had made abortions legal nationwide nearly 50 years ago.

Friday morning’s decision came nearly two months after a draft opinion from the nation’s highest court indicating justices were prepared to overturn the case leaked in early May. That leak also sparked demonstrations in Madison.

RELATED: U.S. Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, abortion now illegal in Wisconsin

Hundreds of pro-choice protesters marched around the Capitol Square, along the way encountering a small pro-life event where those opposed to abortion celebrated the high court’s decision. At times, minor verbal clashes broke out among those on opposing sides.

Pro-choice protester Elizabeth Amundson from Brodhead told News 3 Now she was particularly concerned about women who may now be forced to give birth to babies conceived through rape or incest.

“The law just went so far to where you’re going to tell people who have been raped or who are victims of incestual rape that you now have no choice in basically reliving your traumatic experience every single day,” she said.

But Father Richard Heilman from St. Mary’s Church in Pine Bluff believes life begins at conception, saying those who chanted “My body, my choice” are making a choice on behalf of a baby’s body as well.

“… We’ve heard ‘Trust the science’ over and over the last two years for sure. The science says that’s not… that’s a baby, and so we want to respect the rights of the baby,” he said.

Speakers at the pro-choice event urged the crowd to take more action and let elected officials know the anger and fear they feel.

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Madison Police Department, monitored the events to ensure demonstrations did not get out of hand.