JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — All three are deeply committed to issues surrounding pregnancy or abortion, but Stephanie Adkins and Dan Pohlgeers spent Friday thankful for the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade ruling, while Maggie Wood spent the day worried about its implications.

“It was a lot relief and joy,” Adkins, a member of the national anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life, told News Channel 11 Friday.

“We’ve been praying for this decision for a very long time and so we’re just overjoyed that more lives are going to be saved.”

Stephanie Adkins, who is involved with 40 Days for Life, said Friday’s Roe v Wade ruling left her overjoyed. (WJHL photo)

In fact, prayer is at the center of 40 Days for Life’s mission. The international non-profit founded in 2004 uses a coordinated 40-day campaign that its website says aim “to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses.”

Adkins said the local group prayed in front of the region’s sole abortion provider in Bristol, Tenn.

Wood, on the other hand, said her organization’s work will become even more important in the wake of the court decision. The executive director of the Tri-Cities chapter of “A Step Ahead” said her non-profit works to help prevent unintended pregnancies, primarily through removing barriers to long-acting, reversible contraceptives.

While A Step Ahead doesn’t have an official stance on abortion, Wood favors abortion rights.

“Prevention becomes of the utmost importance, even moreso when you have other tools and opportunities taken away from you,” Wood said.

“If you’re taking away an option you really have to emphasize and focus on expanding other options, because there’s always going to be someone in our community who’s going to need pregnancy prevention resources,” she said.

Wood called the pending bans of abortion in Tennessee and many other states “terrifying,” saying that’s one less “line of defense” in helping families plan pregnancies. “We all know what planned pregnancies do, which is help communities be healthier,” she said.

Adkins said she hopes the ruling’s aftermath will bring people together if, as she seemed to expect, more unintended pregnancies are brought to term.

“I hope that we can work together to provide for the babies that are going to be saved now, that we can come together to support the mothers that are now going to have children and that we can heal,” Adkins said. “Heal from all the bloodshed.”

She said her belief that life begins at conception and that every life has value are the driving forces behind her volunteerism with 40 Days for Life, but that the issue is more deeply personal for her and her husband.

“I have two kids that I adopted out of foster care and it’s because their biological moms chose not to have abortions that I have kids.”

The issue has been personal for Dan Pohlgeers, the chairman of Tennesseans for Life, practically since Roe became law almost 50 years ago.

“My mother back in 1973 was a charter member of Northern Kentucky-Greater Cincinnati Right to Life,” Pohlgeers said of an anti-abortion group that arose in the wake of the Roe decision.

“I was always brought up that the most vulnerable people in our society need to be protected and I think that that is extended to pre-born children,” he said.

Pohlgeers said his mother, who died two years ago, had yearned to see Roe v Wade overturned in her lifetime. “I feel very fortunate that I’m able to see that occur.”

Tennesseans for Life assists in fundraising for local pregnancy help centers, primarily through an annual fundraiser. Pohlgeers said he also worked on the “Yes on Amendment 1” group that advocated for an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that clarified that abortion was not a constitutionally protected right in the state.

That amendment passed by a margin of 53% to 47% in a statewide referendum in 2014.

“I’m certainly pleased to hear that the Supreme Court of the United States has made basically the same decision on Roe v Wade,” Pohlgeers said. “It has by no means banned abortion but what it has done is said abortion is not a protected right under the US Constitution.”

Concern, hope about what comes next

While overturning Roe doesn’t ban abortion, Adkins said she would like to see a total ban. That would require some type of federal action that prohibited states from making their own decisions on abortion rights, as a number of Democratic-led states seem firm in their support for a woman’s right to get an abortion.

“There are now going to be states that are abortion centers,” Adkins said. “People are going to go wherever they can to get abortions. So abortion is not ended in the United States, but we’re just going to have to fight even harder to get that done.”

For her part, Wood said she anticipates the possibility of further judicial or legislative limits being placed not just on abortion rights but closer to where A Step Ahead works for change. She cited Justice Clarence Thomas’s public call in his separate opinion Friday for overturning previously SCOTUS-affirmed Constitutional rights to contraceptives and LGBTQ rights.

A Step Ahead Tri-Cities Executive Director Maggie Wood said the Roe decision leaves her concerned about additional unplanned pregnancies in the region and potential further decisions limiting previously established rights, including to contraceptives. (WJHL photo)

Thomas cited the Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell cases, which established rights to contraceptives (Griswold), consensual gay sex (Lawrence) and same-sex marriage (Obergefell).

“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote in his separate opinion concurring with the Roe reversal.

“I think that was one thing that a lot of people were really scared about regarding Roe v Wade was, if that falls, if that’s overturned, what’s next, because … there’s a lot of things that start to feel unstable and unsafe like same sex marriage and access to contraception for people who are unmarried,” Wood said.

She said she hoped the other Supreme Court justices weren’t in the same “head space” as Thomas, but said his statement alone makes her believe that concern about further changes isn’t alarmist.

“Something like that which our generation takes for granted which my mom’s generation didn’t, you see something like that start to roll back and it gets really scary really quickly,” Wood said.

Like Adkins, Pohlgeers mentioned a hope that the decision unites rather than divides people.

“I hope that this decision doesn’t result in violence,” he said. “I really hope this decision brings people together.

“This certainly is not going to change unwanted pregnancies, but I hope that now everyone can come together and help those people in need and help them to understand that all life is precious – even the life of unborn children.”

Wood said she’ll try to look “five to 10 steps ahead to see what’s coming and hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

She said she’ll advocate hard to maintain people’s access to birth-control methods that she said come with a host of safeguards from FDA approval to physician prescriptions and are safe and effective.

“At some point we have to trust the doctors to be the ones advising on these really important decisions.”