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Marches for reproductive rights across Illinois this weekend

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Marches and rallies are taking place across Illinois in response to the Texas abortion ban that went into effect on Sept. 1.

Two of the largest are planned in Chicago and Springfield. The Chicago rally is at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago and the Springfield rally is at Old State Capitol Plaza, at the heart of the state government district.

A coalition of more than 20 organizations are taking part in the rallies, with groups representing pro-choice, unions, LGBTQ, women and social justice issues.

“Black Lives Matter SPI does and will always defend the right to access safe medically overseen abortions,” the organization said in a press release. “Bans on abortion do not stop abortions. They stop SAFE abortions. We care about our community and those in it. We believe a woman has the sole right to make deeply personal choices about her body and her life and should have access to safely carry out her plan, whatever it may be.”  

“The Coalition of Rainbow Alliances (CORAL) is very supportive of women’s reproductive rights. An attack on the rights of anyone is an attack on the rights of all.” CORAL is one of the most active local LGBTQ groups in the Springfield area.

Statewide LGBTQ group Equality Illinois stated why abortion access is an issue for the LGBTQ community.

“For Equality Illinois, reproductive justice is LGBTQ justice because it is about autonomy over our bodies and our collective and individual ability to decide what is best for ourselves,” they said. “It is about women’s rights, about queer women, about trans and gender diverse communities. We must stand together across movements, communities, and this country to ensure our democratic principles are protected, to protect our hard-earned protections and fundamental rights. And we are committed to mobilizing and educating across communities to unify against anyone restricting our choice, our bodies, and our families.”

The Chicago and Springfield marches aren’t the only events in support of reproductive access. At least 25 marches, rallies and protests are planned from Carbondale in the south to Rockford in the north, alone with more events in border cities such as Paducah, Ky., Burlington, Iowa, and St. Louis.

The Chicago rally and march is MCed by Jacqui Algee, Director of External Relations, SEIU, and Sekile Nzinga. Speakers include: Jamila Jenkins, Behavioral Health Clinician, Planned Parenthood of Illinois; Pastor Nicolette “Nic” Peñaranda, First Lutheran Church of the Trinity; Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Deputy Director, Equality Illinois; Qudsiyyah Sharyif, Program Manager, Chicago Abortion Fund; and Dr. Amy Whitaker, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

The Springfield rally is MCed by Sunshine Clemons from Black Lives Matter Springfield. Speakers include: Hannah Baity, a student at the University of Illinois at Springfield and youth activist; Dr. Erica Nelson, SIU School of Medicine and former Planned Parenthood of Illinois Board Member; Shatryia Smith, poet; and Rev Martin Wolfe of the Abraham Lincoln Universalist Unitarian Church.

A full listing of events can be found on the Women’s March website or the Illinois Eagle event listings page.

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