Evanston, Ill.—On Oct. 15 on what was fortunately a lovely fall day, over 100 pro-abortion people rallied and marched downtown. The “Pro-Choice Rally and March” was “advocating for reproductive rights, reproductive justice and reproductive freedom.” While those of us who were there are aware that we live in a state where abortion is legal and accessible (although not affordable to everyone), we wanted to show our support for women’s freedom and fight for it everywhere. As one speaker pointed out, Illinois has become a “safe haven” in the Midwest (as well as for part of the South) where there has been a tremendous influx of women needing abortions.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE SAVES LIVES
The speakers were heavily weighted towards elected officials, some of whom, like U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, gave spirited talks. Sunshine, a spoken word artist, talked passionately about what abortion access meant for women who had been raped, and also gave sobering statistics of the numbers of women raped and how difficult it has become for so many to obtain an abortion.
One of the most moving talks was from a woman telling of her experience of escaping an abusive partner and how Planned Parenthood “saved her life” by giving her long-acting birth control and keeping that fact completely private. A woman from “Reproductive Transparency Now” spoke about the proliferation of anti-abortion so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” which are in fact fake clinics, most have no doctors or nurses or are even associated with them. They not only lie to women wanting information about abortions, they also lie about contraception and discourage its use.
The speakers and those who attended were a diverse group of people including many men as well as youth, some in high school, and of course, a lot of women, Black, white and Latina.
One 14-year-old told News and Letters Committees why she had come:
“I’m volunteering because I wanted to help out. I really care about pro-choice. I know that if I ever get to a situation in my life where I have to make that choice, I would want to be able to and not have someone else decide for me. Many women go through horrible things, they are getting harassed and some do not have control of their own bodies and it is upsetting. A lot of my friends agree with me and some are here.”
Those of us there all “really care about pro-choice,” and we were determined to make our voices heard. We were there for our sisters and for others who can become pregnant because we realize that if you don’t have control of your own body, then you are not free.
—Women’s liberation participant