On July 9, hundreds of people took to the streets in Chicago to oppose the so-called “March for Life” during which anti-abortion marchers from across the region gathered to celebrate the overturn of Roe v. Wade. For years, abortion and reproductive rights groups have counterprotested these right-wing gatherings to challenge their anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
The anti-abortion forces gathered in Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago with a large stage and sound system while the counterprotesters gathered across the street. Many organizations showed up, and due to this most recent attack on reproductive rights driving more people into the streets, the counter-protesters outnumbered the anti-abortion crowd for the first time in recent memory.
For some, the Supreme Court decision brought them out to protest for the first time. “In 2012, I had an abortion, and I didn’t realize how much that it affected me until the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned,” one protester who declined to give their name told Liberation News. “I think it just brought everything to the forefront and going through it really made me appreciate the fact that I had the choice, and I’m sad that women now don’t have that choice because it saved my life.”
While the anti-abortionists gave their speeches, the counterprotesters drowned them out with chants of their own and were joined by a group of pro-choice bikers who circled the block revving their engines and honking their horns. As the anti-abortion crowd marched their route, counterprotesters marched on the sidewalks next to them.
At the end of the march while the anti-abortion forces dispersed, the counterprotesters remained energized and concluded with several speeches. Linda Winter, a speaker from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said, “The Supreme Court didn’t give anybody anything in 1973. People were in the streets. They were fighting against militarism in Vietnam, they were fighting against racism, and they were fighting against sexism, no-choice, anti-abortionism. So we’re out here again in the streets because that’s where the power is.”
Winter concluded her speech with the importance of organizing: “It’s great to be out here as an individual. It’s great to be out as a group, but we have to organize. We have to get groups together. We have to organize and be out in the streets in the struggle.”
Feature photo: Protesters march in downtown Chicago demanding abortion rights. Liberation photo