March for Life rally heads to DC on 49th anniversary of Roe v Wade abortion rights decision

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On the eve of the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the future of abortion in the U.S. is uncertain.

Eric Scheidler, the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago, was among many from across the country who came to Washington on Friday for the annual March for Life rally.

"The atmosphere is incredibly upbeat and optimistic," he said.

This year's march is happening less than two months after the Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case on the constitutionality of a Mississippi abortion ban after 15 weeks. The ban has no exceptions for rape or incest.

The high court is expected to hand down a decision in June.

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Scheidler is anticipating the ruling going in their favor, and said anti-abortion activists have to be prepared to make the case to the public.

"We also have to be there to help the moms who are going to be pressured to get an abortion in those states that have laws, like Illinois, that are wide open for abortion," Scheidler said.

Law professor Carolyn Shapiro heads the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States at Chicago-Kent College of Law. She said she expects the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade.

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"I imagine that most of the people who will be in the majority will say states can decide what to do, possibly Congress can decide what to do in terms of whether or not to outlaw abortion," Shapiro said.

She said there are some states that already have laws on the books that are designed to ban or restrict abortions under most circumstances if Roe V. Wade is overruled.

"We may very well see many women and other people who need abortions coming here from other states," Shapiro said.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois is preparing for a 30% jump in new patients at their 17 health centers.

"We have been preparing for this for years," said Brigid Leahy, the senior director of public policy at Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. "We're ready."

RELATED: Illinois House gives final approval to repeal abortion parental notification for girls under 18

Planned Parenthood Illinois Action has a Roe v. Wade anniversary virtual event scheduled for January 27.

Leahy said she's concerned about where this country may be headed on abortion rights.

"You should have the right, the ability to access the healthcare you need. And we are at a moment where we are going to see that taken away from millions of people," Leahy said.
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