Demonstrations on both sides of abortion issue held downtown, one year after Roe v. Wade overturned

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Saturday, June 24, 2023
Demonstrations on both sides of abortion issue held downtown, one year after Roe v. Wade overturned
Dueling abortion rights protests were held in Chicago to mark the one-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion issue made their voices heard in Chicago Saturday.

One year after the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision, leaving millions of Americans without guaranteed access to abortion, dueling rallies took place at Daley Plaza.

RELATED | Conservatives push for 15-week national abortion ban as Biden rallies for abortion rights

Some demonstrators praised the high court's move to overturn Roe v. Wade while demonstrating on one side of Dearborn Street.

"Tremendous history for the pro-life movement, but for the state of Illinois, it's actually made things worse," said Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of Pro-Life Action League.

Across the street, other demonstrators proclaimed last year's move as a devastating day in history.

"In the 50 years since Roe, the right to control, to autonomy over our bodies, is being completely dismantled," said pro-abortion rights advocate Ellie Walsh.

The Dobbs decision sent a political earthquake throughout the country. Although Illinois continues to have abortion rights, doctors say pregnant people from banned states have been flooding Illinois for abortion care."

"We see over 100 folks a month from Indiana, from Wisconsin, and definitely at least one person each day from states very far away like Texas and Tennessee, Kentucky, and other states that have banned abortion," said Dr. Allison Cowett, Medical Director at Family Planning Associates in Chicago.

The heated debate continues as anti-abortion advocates push for more restrictive laws in Illinois.

"We hope, eventually, to turn the tide legally in the state of Illinois, offer legal protection to unborn children and offer policies that will promote family formation instead of abortion," Scheidler said.

SEE ALSO | One year post-Roe, crisis pregnancy centers expand footprint in Mississippi

"I think that you totally do have a right to do whatever with your body, but your bodily autonomy stops when it harms another individual," Simply Pro-Life President Hope Miller said.

Others fear that if this right is so easily reversible, any rights could be threatened.

"Once we win some rights, it doesn't mean that they're secure, depending on what the larger political climate is," Walsh said.

Currently, 20 Democratic-leaning states have protected abortion access, while more than a dozen Republican-led states have abortion restriction policies in place or pending.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday aimed at preserving access to contraception.