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The atmosphere outside the Supreme Court, where some protest and others celebrate

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Activists from both sides of the abortion issue are gathered outside the Supreme Court today, some celebrating, others protesting. NPR's Barbara Sprunt is out talking to all of them and joins us now. Hey, Barbara.

BARBARA SPRUNT, BYLINE: Hello.

KELLY: Hey. Sounds like you're in the thick of it. Tell me, what's the atmosphere where you are?

SPRUNT: The atmosphere - as you can probably hear, there's a lot of energy. There's passion on both sides of this issue. I've spoken with people who've told me that today's a celebration. Others say they feel despair. I spoke with Kelli Russell. She's visiting D.C. from Portland, Ore.

KELLI RUSSELL: The sign that I'm holding, it's a little vulgar, but it says F SCOTUS - we're doing it anyway. And really, the reality is abortions will not stop today in any state. They will continue, but they will be unsafe. And you're putting people's lives at risk.

SPRUNT: And a lot of the young people that I've spoken with today who are anti-abortion rights say that this is just the beginning. They want to see abortion made illegal (inaudible). Here's one, Ellie McFarland. She's 18.

ELLIE MCFARLAND: I think it's a very convenient political line to say that pro-lifers are a bunch of old white men, there are no, like, people of color, there are no women, no young women, no young people who believe this.

KELLY: Barbara, speaking of young people, old people, people of color, what does the crowd out there look like?

SPRUNT: Well, what stood out to me is that it's a diverse crowd. And it's - there's a number of families here, parents who have brought their children, their nieces and nephews. There's grandmothers in the crowd. I talked with Alissa Greenwood, and she brought her 6-month-old daughter.

ALISSA GREENWOOD: My fear is that the rights that I took for granted at 16 when I had my first pregnancy scare won't be there for her, that she'll be 16 and she'll be in that position, and she will want an abortion. And we might have to travel hundreds of miles for one.

KELLY: Barbara, one thing that stands out to me is the number of protesters. They are loud, but we're told it's more hundreds, not thousands. Were bigger protests expected?

SPRUNT: Certainly by the people I've spoken with. I mean, there are people who told me that, look, I came out when the draft opinion was leaked, and it's sort of the same number of people in the crowds that there were then. And they expressed sort of a bewilderment. I mean, like you said, it's a loud crowd, but a lot of people thought that there would be thousands lining the street, and it's just not that large.

KELLY: Yeah. And lastly, just 30 seconds or so left, but there were concerns that things might turn violent today. Have you seen any of that?

SPRUNT: Thankfully, I have not seen anything violent - certainly lots of contentious, heated conversations. I watched Lauren Cattaneo (ph), who was here with her daughter, talk with a group of young men about why she felt abortion rights were so critical. And she told me that in high school, she and her mother would actually go help people get into abortion clinics when protesters tried to block them.

KELLY: Right. That is Barbara Sprunt there reporting from out in front of the Supreme Court. Thank you, Barbara.

SPRUNT: Thank you much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.