Chicagoans march for abortion rights amid US Supreme Court leak

ByStephanie Wade and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, May 14, 2022
Upwards of 1K abortion rights demonstrators march through Chicago
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Abortion rights protests happened in Chicago over the leaked draft opinion that indicated the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Upwards of 1,000 people piled into Union Park Saturday to rally for abortion rights.

Then, they took to the streets and marched to downtown Chicago to make their voices heard.

WATCH: Pro-abortion rights demonstrators march through Chicago

"I really believe that you don't have the opportunity or right to go back and redo things," said Chicagoan Michael Mitzen.

Lawmakers locked arms, standing alongside healthcare providers, community organizations and activists in protest of the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"It starts with Roe v. Wade and, what else is next? LGBTQ rights? Gay marriage rights? Voting rights?" said Ald. Gilbert Villegas.

They said they're fighting for women's right to make decisions about their own reproductive health.

"Right now, a minority of lawmakers in Washington are taking away our voice. So we're here, thousands strong, to use our voice and stand up for what we believe in," said Marj Haleerin of the Executive Committee of the Indivisible Chicago Alliance.

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Many shared their own personal experiences.

"I am very proud of my reproductive history, whether I chose to mother or I chose not to mother. I have had an abortion as a teenager and I have had an abortion as an adult," said Illinois Chief Equity Officer Sekile Nzinga.

Chicagoan Phyllis Mitzen also weighed in.

"I just turned 80 and I've been marching for this almost all of my life. And I look at the children who are here and I think to myself, 'Why should they have to continue marching for this?'" Mitzen said.

Abortion providers said 46,000 people get an abortion every year in Illinois. They're expecting 30,000 more patients to come from out of state if Roe falls.

"And so for us at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, we need to make sure that we have everything in place to meet that anticipated surge in patients," said Planned Parenthood Illinois Chief External Affairs Officer Paula Thornton Treear.

A small group of counter-protesters were there as well, rallying against abortion rights.

"Who are we as human beings to take life in our own hands? We are not God, so who am I to take a persons life?" David Ramirez, an anti-abortion rights activist.

Kalin Koychev also weighed in.

"They don't give a chance to a child to choose what they can do with their life," Koychev said.

Residents were told to expect heavy traffic as demonstrators march east on Washington from the park to Wacker and LaSalle downtown.

Another march took place at 1 p.m. near 103rd and Western in Beverly.

These rallies are expected to continue until an official Supreme Court decision is made.