Matthew Kaplan Photography

Abortion Rights Rally and March in Downtown Chicago - May 7th, 2022

Following the unprecedented leak of a Supreme Court draft decision written by Justice Alito, which would overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortions for the first time in almost 50 years, advocates for women's reproductive rights took their case to the streets of Chicago. Thousands of pro-choice women and men gathered for a rally at noon in Federal Plaza, while anti-abortion protestors hurled gospel-inspired invective at them from across the street.

As the crowd grew steadily, and speeches were made in the plaza, a phalanx of caped motorcycle riders roared by on Dearborn Street, some with coat hanger signs on their handlebars reading "keep your laws out of my uterus".

In bright afternoon sunshine, the demonstrators then marched noisily through the Loop, chanting "Pro-life is a lie. You don't care if people die!" to the religious counter-protestors followed along on the sidewalks.

Ending the march with a second rally under the statues at Michigan Avenue and Ida B Wells Drive, a vow was made to carry on the protests with a week of resistance continuing through May 14th. A mass rally on next Saturday is to be held at Millennium Park, according to leaflets being handed out, which declared a "collective refusal to let the US Supreme Court decimate abortion rights."

The actual decision in the case is expected to be released by the court in late June or early July. While the final wording may change from the leaked draft, most commentators expect the court to end, or severely curtail, a woman's constitutional right to end her pregnancy. Legal experts worry that Justice Alito's reasoning in this early draft, if carried through to the actual decision, could imperil other civil freedoms, including the right to same-sex marriage, and possibly the right to access contraceptives.

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