Brief: Chicago Rally to Defend Abortion Rights attracts broad coalition

Marchers+carrying+a+sign+paused+during+the+Rally+to+Defend+Abortion+Access+in+Chicago%2C+Ill.+on+Oct.+2%2C+2021

Jason Flynn | @dejasonflynn

Marchers carrying a sign paused during the Rally to Defend Abortion Access in Chicago, Ill. on Oct. 2, 2021

The Illinois chapter of the organization Women’s March helped plan 21 events around the state on Oct. 2, including the Rally to Defend Abortion Rights in Chicago, which drew thousands of attendees. 

Over 30 organizations collaborated to organize the Chicago event, according to a statement by Chicago Abortion Fund. 

The rally featured speakers from First Lutheran Church of the Trinity, Access Living, Equality Illinois, Planned Parenthood, Women’s March Chicago, Nzinga Collective, Chicago Abortion Fund, Planned Parenthood and Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health.

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The coalition of organizing groups included health groups, LGBT+ advocacy groups, local political campaigners, labor unions and socialist community organizing groups. 

The event was held in opposition to a Texas law upheld in August that would ban abortions for people over six weeks pregnant, and allow people to sue people seeking or providing later abortions for up to $10,000.

“The Texas ban is probably one of the most draconian attacks on women’s right to control their bodies. Not only is it about making abortion illegal after six weeks, but it’s also a law that allows for vigilanteism,” AJ  Lochlan, 53, said while marching with Revolution Club Chicago. 

Samir Qaisar, 33, who passed out pamphlets on class struggle said the group International Marxist Tendency of which he is a member was tabling at similar rallies and marches around the country. 

Abortion providers and funds, such as Chicago Abortion Fund, have been preparing for years for a situation in which numerous states’ abortion bans are upheld by the supreme court. 

“Having access to safe, legal abortion care is absolutely essential,” Dr. Amy Whitaker, chief medical officer for Illinois Planned Parenthood, said in a speech during the rally.

Qudsiyyah Shariyf, program manager for Chicago Abortion Fund, said the organization greatly expanded it’s services.

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“In 2019 we funded 823 people. In 2020 that number doubled to over 1600. This year we continue to see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of centuries of reproductive oppression,” Shariyf said. “Just this month we had a record breaking number of requests for support, 391 people.” 

Though the state offers significantly more protections and abortion access measures than neighboring states, Shariyf said is still far less accessible than it should be. 

“Roughly 25% of those people were Illinois residents,” Shariyf said. 

Whitaker pointed to a rule requiring parental notification for underage patients seeking an abortion, which she called “archaic.”

“Roe [vs Wade] should be the floor, and not the ceiling to protect abortion rights,” Whitaker said. 

Staff reporter Jason Flynn can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jdejasonflynn. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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