Outside Kavanaugh’s house, Lacey Wootton Holloway demands abortion rights

Lacey Woten Holloway protests near the home of Chevy Chase for her neighbor, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)

Lacie Wooten-Holway walked past Chevy Chase on Wednesday night, stopping to stick flyers on her fence, tree and utility boxes. She was announcing a protest against abortion rights here, in her neighborhood, in front of the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

A passing couple stops and reads a sign that reads: “HONK 4 REPRO Rights and Bodily Autonomy.”

“good!” The woman said.

The man said, “I don’t agree with him.” “I think you’ll vote, and you’ll expand the court. Don’t go to a man’s house.”

She had heard the controversy before and replied, “I am organizing a peaceful candlelight vigil in front of his house. … We are about to have Judgment Day, so I will not be civilized with this man at all.”

Over the course of months, Wootten-Holloway, a 39-year-old teaching assistant and aftercare worker, mother of two children and the youngest of five sisters, took the unusual step of objecting to a neighbour.

She’s usually the only neighbor there – a reminder that with every walk and chant she breaks an unspoken contract of civility.

“We’re about to get doomsday, so I’m not going to be civil with this guy at all.”

– Lacey Watten Holloway

At Chevy Chase, just off the county line, kindness between neighbors has always been part of the social code. But Wootton Holloway — who miscarried and became a sexual assault survivor — can’t separate politics from personality.

With an opinion draft leaked indicating that the Supreme Court is on the verge of a coup ru vs. valleyBy ending the constitutional right to abortion, the stakes are too high, she says.

Neighbors tell her that this kind of protest is disrespectful in a place they believe should be a private refuge for the family from the bitter politics of Washington.

Other people cheer saying they won’t join in person but are encouraged to see someone speak in public. She invited her neighbors to join, and posted to a local Facebook group where her messages posting protests are often marked as read but not answered.

Activists and residents of the capital yelled at political leaders in restaurants and even danced outside Legislators’ homes Early in the morning “wake up calls‘but they often have a sense of anonymity and teamwork. Wooten-Holway has neither.

I’ve met Kavanaugh. They once trained middle school basketball at the same gym but for different teams. She saw his wife, the town manager, in the grocery store.

Even if she and the Kavanaughs don’t know each other personally, she thinks it’s important for him to hear that people in his neighborhood strongly disagree with him.

She is angry at the idea of ​​a world without Ro — that a few mostly men judges make that decision for millions of women, and that Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault, which he has denied, could be one of them.

If conservative judges are considering undoing a precedent that protects what people choose to do with their bodies, she says, no home address is off limits.

A Supreme Court spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Wooten-Holway is planning another demonstration on Saturday, the fifth it is holding on his street. The crowd size usually ranges from a handful of supporters to a few dozen people, including activists, students and women sharing their stories about why they chose to have an abortion.

Sometimes, Wooten-Holway wonders if these protests are so Worth what it actually cost her and her family to talk about.

Like the majority of Americans who say the Supreme Court should uphold it Ro The couple, who were passing through Wooten-Holway on Wednesday night, agreed with the reasoning behind her protest. They knew Kavanaugh was living nearby, but they weren’t convinced by Wooten-Holway Techniques.

“I’m afraid the lines will be crossed,” said the man. “This constant escalation, I think, makes it dangerous.”

Most of the neighbors interviewed by The Washington Post declined to provide their full names, including a couple who were nervous about how speaking out about politics would affect their jobs.

Moving out of the conversation with the couple, Wooten-Holway is carrying a bag of red coat hangers and trying to stay committed to her job. But on this night, in particular, she was exhausted and lonely.

“I’m not ready to be a mother”

Wooten-Holloway heard about a different protest outside Kavanaugh’s house in September and immediately wished to be a part of it. There were a few times she wanted to do just that, but she always stopped herself.

The neighborhood was torn apart when Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court — a process that fueled allegations of sexual assault and drinking in high school and a culture of privilege accorded to the sons of Washington’s elite. Wooten Holloway, like Kavanaugh, grew up among them.

Her protest was limited to posting on social media. placing signs in her home about social, racial, and reproductive justice; writing her opinions on her car windows; Walk in the Supreme Court or the National Mall. She came from a family concerned with reproductive rights; One sister, she said, is a nurse practitioner at a family planning facility, and the other is a midwife.

Motivated by her personal experiences, she felt she needed to do more.

The first time I had an unplanned pregnancy was at the age of 18 and it was in London. It was the summer before her freshman year at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and she watched the various paths unfold before her.

Her mother, a devout Catholic who believed life began at conception, realized why Wooten-Holway wanted an abortion but said she couldn’t go with her to the doctor. I went alone.

“I would have been unprepared to be a parent,” Wootten Holloway said. “It was an easy choice, and it was a painful choice.”

On her 21st birthday, June 11, 2003, she realized she was pregnant again. She was living with her parents in Georgetown and considered what her life would be like with a child and her first serious boyfriend. And it took about 30 seconds, she said, “I wasn’t ready to be a mother.”

Two and a half weeks later, she took the abortion pill and stayed at her boyfriend’s apartment for the weekend.

when I became Pregnant in 2005 with her first child, Patience, she had a different feeling: She had chosen to be a mother. In 2015, she gave birth to her second child, Jack.

“I have these two great children, and I’m so fortunate and so grateful for them, I still don’t regret my decision,” Wooten Holloway said of her abortions.

As hundreds of women rallied in the nation’s capital to protest Kavanaugh’s court nomination, Wootton Holloway walked with them.

Footage of Wooten-Holway among a crowd of protesters appeared on CNN that day, her hands above her head holding a graphic sign of Kavanaugh groping Lady Justice, one hand over her mouth, saying “Don’t scream!”

Wooten-Holway’s activity drew attention to herself and her elders, Patience, who was 12 years old at the time and used their pronouns.

Classmates at the Eucharist school mocked the family’s beliefs and bullied their patience, according to messages sent to The Post and confirmed in emails between her stepfather and school officials. In the end, Wooten Holloway withdrew the patience from the school.

That reaction lingered in her mind before she took the step of organizing a protest in their neighborhood.

At her first demonstration in October, she was joined by eight people.

On a Wednesday night, Wooten-Holway crossed a nearby intersection and decided that the ledge in front of her was the perfect spot for her red coat hanger.

She would lean a dozen or so on the wooden fence, spacing them apart and lighting electronic candles to light the screen all night. A woman smiled as she walked. She saw the Wooten-Holway sign, and said, “Honk honking!”

“We’re going out on Saturday night,” Wootten Holloway told her. “We’ll walk past his house, then head to Judge Roberts’ house.”

The woman, who did not want her name to be used, lived in the neighborhood for 50 years and told Wooten-Holway that she had mixed feelings about it. Several months ago while I was out for a walk with a friend, The woman saw Protesters march toward Kavanaugh’s house and decide to join him, but she admitted, “I didn’t really feel comfortable being in front of his house.”

Wootten Holloway replied, “I fully understand and respect the idea that people don’t want to go to his house or people aren’t willing to go to his house.” “So I will do it for you.”

Wooten-Holway thought about other protests she had organized: After judges heard arguments in December about the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban; In January on the 49th anniversary of Ro; And again in March during International Women’s Month. The crowds were small.

She was joined by four people in December, including another person who lived nearby, Erin Brangely, 52, who couldn’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t quite right.

Feeling unsettled, she stood on Kavanaugh Street, protesting against a man she knew when their daughters played on the same basketball team. Brangeley had protested against Republicans and conservative politics before but had never protested in this neighborhood.

After this week’s draft opinion was leaked, it felt less conflicting.

The wealthy women in his neighborhood would have no problem with this decision. “People with fewer resources,” she said. “That is why it is time for people of good conscience to cross this barrier and force them to look at us.”

Last January, the patience of the oldest team in Wooten-Holway took the uncomfortable step of joining. First, Patience, who is now 16, has temporarily banned one of Kavanaugh’s daughters from her Instagram story, they said, so she won’t have to see negative things about her father.

Wooten-Holway wishes more people would join her protests, despite the opposition. In January, the slowest driver of his car Upon seeing them on the street of Chief Justice John Roberts, he cried out of his window, “I may agree with you, but leave justice alone!”

The wealthy women in his neighborhood would have no problem with this decision. They are the people who have the least resources. That is why it is time for people of good conscience to cross this barrier and force them to look at us.”

– Erin Brangely

In the past, a few Wooten-Holway protests against Kavanaugh have been mistakenly organized in front of the wrong house. She wonders why no one in that street caught her.

Neighbors noticed them. Cars parked in the lanes nearby. People slowed down their pace while walking their dogs to take a closer look. Not once, she said, did someone tell her they were chanting in front of the wrong house.

“If these are the Kavanaughs’ protection, that’s really nice, and that’s what neighbors do, right?” Wooten-Holway said. “The difference here is that he has people who will protect him. I don’t. And my kid didn’t either.”

Other neighbors on Wednesday night were also upset by the choices of Wootton Holloway. A woman, who declined to be named, said she thought the protests were inappropriate, adding that her 7-year-old daughter had started asking questions she didn’t want answered yet.

“She asks what an abortion is. I think that’s a little bit too much,” the neighbor said. “I got the very first amendment, but I didn’t really want to explain this problem to my 7-year-old daughter.”

Wooten-Holway didn’t really interact with her – that wasn’t a neighbor she could recruit to her cause. She finished installing the clothes hangers, took her bag, and headed to the nearby Brockville Market.

The cork board at the entrance was littered with flyers—for local political candidates, for carriers, for wellness and cleaning, and for girls’ summer programs. Wooten-Holway tried to find a space to add hers, which reads “CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR ROE V. WADE.”

I thought more people would be out to protest in all the months leading up to this moment. Now, you fear, a Ro A reversal appears imminent.

When she grabbed an extra thumb and pressed it into the top corner of her pilot’s flyer, she was wishing one more neighbor would join her, and thought out loud, “I can’t be the only one, can I?”

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