CHICAGO — As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in a high-profile abortion case, activists are taking to the streets of Chicago to defend access to the procedure.
The rally commenced on the first day of the new US Supreme Court court term. Protesters said they want the courts to uphold Roe vs. Wade and push for more protections for women nationwide and Illinois.
Stacey Davis-Gates, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, was among the healthcare and labor group rally-goers at Federal Plaza who said they are fighting to bolster the state’s abortion rights.
“Listen, I’m going to make this real clear. My uterus is mine,” Davis-Gates said.
Gina Rozman-Wendle, with Chicago National Organization for Women, spoke at the event.
“Extremists march with signs that say ‘my body, my choice’ when it comes to vaccine mandates but take no issue with our choice whether or not to bear a child,” Rozman-Wendle said.
The push comes after Texas lawmakers passed legislation that makes it nearly impossible for women to access safe procedures. As a result, people are now suing strangers and their doctors who decide what to do in their pregnancies.
“The people who suffer most are the very young, people of color, and people of limited means,” Rozman-Wendle said.
Doctors say the number of women coming to Illinois for abortions from Texas has skyrocketed.
“A patient told me just last week that she spent her whole savings to come from Texas to Chicago,” said Dr. Allison Cowett with Family Planning Medical Associates.
Doctors add that they only expect the numbers to keep rising.
“No abortion bans. Not now. Not ever,” Rozman-Wendle said.
Chicago is a blue city in a blue state, but activists said attacks occurred at a local abortion clinic last month. Jennifer Welch with Planned Parenthood of Illinois said they would continue to provide services for women in need.
“Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ doors are open and we are here to unapologetically provide an abortion no matter what your zip code, no matter what,” Welch said.
In 2013, Illinois passed a parental notice law requiring doctors to tell parents if their underage daughter wants an abortion.
Illinois Senate president Don Harmon told the Chicago Sun-Times it’s an issue the Illinois legislature could take another look at in the upcoming session to safeguard abortion access in Illinois.
“No one can speak about our bodies better than we can,” said Chicago Transit Authority worker Deborah Cosey-Lane. “No one should be able to make the decisions about what we do with our body better than we can.”
Protesters will hold another abortion rally Saturday, Oct. 2, at Federal Plaza.