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CHICAGO — On a cold day in Federal Plaza, it was the hot button issue of abortion that brought thousands out to demonstrate during the annual “March for Life” Sunday.

Jackie Seidl was holding six-month-old Maura as closely as she holds her pro-life views.

“We believe that every life is precious, unborn, born every life is important,” Seidl said.

Anchored on either side of Dearborn St., each side of the decades-old abortion debate hunkered down, and spoke up. They gathered with the goal of changing public policy, not personal opinions.

“We don’t sit down as people and find common ground. We stand across the street and shout,” said pro-choice protester Kate Goldstein.

“On this side you have primarily people of faith standing for the unborn, I don’t know what mixture of people are on the other side,” said pro-life protester Tarik Davis.

Across the street at the pro-choice demonstration, several protesters argued that the government should not dictate medical decisions for women.

“As a religious Midwesterner to say that does not represent me,” protester Kate Goldstein said.

“It’s about letting women make their own decisions. Abortion is a complicated decision between a woman and her health care provider – and not something that women who don’t know them at all should be involved in,” Kelsey Wischeard said.

But when the gap is as wide as Dearborn, neither side was interested in building bridges, much less crossing the street.

The fight over reproductive rights will continue here in Chicago, and will be a central topic at upcoming Women’s March on Saturday, which drew 250,000 demonstrators last year.