Chicago rally fights for abortion justice, reproductive rights amid new restrictive Texas law

A small counter-demonstration was also held
CHICAGO -- Thousands of protesters flocked to Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago Saturday in support of abortion rights.

"Abortion is healthcare. We need to be able to make our own choices and have the freedom to do that safely," said rally attendee Jillian Schranz.

"It's her body. Nobody else needs to make decisions about a woman's body except herself," added fellow attendee Marian DiMarco.

Chicago's Defend Abortion Access rally and march may be one of the larger reproductive rights events held Saturday, here and across the nation.

Ponchita Moore came with her 11-year-old grandson Christian.

"He's going to grow up. He's going to be a young man and it's important to understand that everyone has rights," she said.

The weekend demonstration was organized by local activists and health care groups, along with others, including Planned Parent of Illinois. The groups are protesting the new Texas law, which bans abortions after six weeks, as well as ongoing efforts to restrict abortion access.

RELATED: Motivated by restrictive new abortion law in Texas, women's marches sweep country

"The people in Texas do not even have the basic protections granted to them by Roe v. Wade," said Dr. Amy Whitaker, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

"The situation in Texas leaves people with disabilities no choice since they have to travel," said Michelle Garcia, a community organizer with Access Living Latinx.

Crystal Rosales said it's a difficult decision women have to make and shared her own experience.

"If it wasn't for the kindness and support, and the resources I had when I was actually pregnant and needed it the most -- because abortion is healthcare. Abortion is essential. Abortion is freedom," Rosales said.

Supporters remain concerned that attempts to pass more restrictive abortion laws won't stop with Texas or with reproductive rights.

"It's hard for those of us who lived through this in the 70s and fought for access to abortion for all of us, to see these rights crumble all over again," said Marj Halperin, an Indivisible Chicago Alliance board member.

The rally was not without its detractors.

A man preaching anti-abortion messages and his supporters held a small counter-demonstration.

Both abortion advocates and the United States Justice Department have challenged the Texas law, arguing that it violates Roe v. Wade. Meanwhile, more rallies like the one Saturday are planned.