Nearly 1,000 Chicago Protesters Rally Against Texas Abortion Ban, Joining Cities Across Nation | State and regional

CHICAGO – Singing slogans such as “my body, my choice” and “2, 4, 6, 8 abortion rights in every state”, around 3,000 protesters who gathered in Daley Plaza ended their rally on abortion rights Saturday afternoon as US cities across the country scheduled a day of protests against a recent abortion ban in Texas.

Pro-abortion protesters take part in a women’s march in Chicago on Saturday. Rallies have been held in major cities across the country to demand continued access to abortion.

Mark Capapas, Associated Press

The Chicago Defend Abortion Access event started at noon and ended around 2:15 pm, without incident.

It was to be one of the biggest reproductive rights events on Saturday in Illinois, with one in Springfield and followed by about two dozen more in the suburbs and elsewhere.

At least one of those in Loop Square at 11:30 am was a man preaching anti-abortion messages and “what the bible says”.

Another participant, a 64-year-old woman named Peggy, said, “I wish there were more people here” when asked what she thought of participating.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois – along with about 19 other local activist and health care groups – organized the rallies in the first two cities.

Around noon, other demonstrators wearing red socialist T-shirts were chanting; “Racist, sexist and anti-gay Christian fanatics are leaving.”

Supporters including Crystal Rosales, a storyteller from the Chicago Abortion Fund, approached the microphone, introduced themselves and described their experiences with their abortions.

Crystal said it was in Chicago that she found out she was pregnant. “A baby deserves more than I could give right now, so I made the toughest decision of my life.” The Chicago Abortion Fund helpline offered her funds, and she said others deserved it too.

At 12:45 p.m. the plaza was almost full and the crowd had reached about 2,000 and around 1:15 p.m. they started walking south on Clark Street.

As they walked, a speaker chanted, “We won’t do it” and the crowd replied, “Turn around. Then, “My body” as the crowd responded, “My choice. “

As they approached Adams Street, the demonstrators chanted: “2, 4, 6, 8, the right to abortion in all states!”

At 1:45 p.m. the southbound march was about three blocks in length and at around 2:15 p.m. the walkers returned to Daley Plaza and the event ended.

The Texas law in question, Senate Bill 8, prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, when women generally cannot tell they are pregnant, and without exception for rape or incest. The law also allows individuals to sue abortion providers or anyone who “helps and encourages” a procedure. The law came into force in early September after the Supreme Court refused to block what then became the country’s most restrictive abortion law.

The measure is one of many “heart rate laws” passed in various states that attempt to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Other similar laws, however, have been blocked by the courts, citing Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that established the right to terminate a pregnancy.

But many abortion rights activists fear other states will follow suit and try to pass more restrictive laws. A major Mississippi reproductive rights case that could challenge Roe v. Wade will also be heard by the Supreme Court in December.

And while Illinois’ abortion rights are strong following measures such as the Reproductive Health Act in 2019, which established the “fundamental right” to terminate a pregnancy here, one cannot. say the same of other places in the Midwest or the South. Local abortion rights advocates predict an influx of more women traveling on state lines to terminate their pregnancies in Illinois.

Saturday’s events were set to unfold in conjunction with hundreds of marches and similar gatherings planned in other cities across the country this weekend, including the Rally for Abortion Justice in Washington, DC, the March for Reproductive Rights in Los Angeles. and the Boston Rally to Defend Abortion.

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