BRONZEVILLE — Parents, kids, and community members marched through Bronzeville Monday, calling for abortion justice in wake of the Supreme Court decision that ended the constitutional protection of abortions nationwide.
The “Families for Abortion Access” march, which aimed to spotlight the Black and Brown parents disproportionally affected by the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe. V. Wade, kicked off Independence Day morning at 38th Street and Rhodes Avenue following a brief rally in a nearby field.
Parents pushed strollers and entire families hoisted signs as a few hundred marchers looped through neighborhood streets chanting “Abortion is health care, health care is a right” and “All genders, all voices, our bodies, our choices.”
“As parents we have a unique opportunity to offer more for our babies,” said Megan Jeyifo, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund.
Though nearly one in four American women will have an abortion by age 45 and the majority of those people are already parents, the subject is rarely discussed openly as a normal part of reproductive health. That must change, Jeyifo said.
“We know the vast majority of people in the country did not want to see Roe overturned. But that majority has been silent for far too long. We must change the narrative unapologetically,” Jeyifo said.
Speaking to a large crowd before the march, Jeyifo said told parents and children she wished she had heard a simple message when she was younger: that “abortion is ok. Abortion is health care. Abortion is necessary.”
Keewa Nurullah, owner of South Loop children’s store Kido Chicago, organized the march in partnership with the Chicago Abortion Fund. Nurullah designed and sold t-shirts at Monday’s rally and donated all the proceeds to the abortion fund.
Before the march kicked off, Nurullah asked the crowd to pour out a libation to honor her sister, who died from an unsafe abortion.
“My sister is an example of how important it is for every woman to have access to safe abortions,” Nurullah said.
The Supreme Court ended decades of abortion protections in states across the country when it overturned Roe. v. Wade on June 24. Thousands marched through Chicago’s Loop to protest the decision.
But for parents who could not attend the Downtown protest with their kids, Monday’s march offered a family-focused way to make their voices heard.
Kenwood resident Liv Leader, 42, said she attended the march to advocate for friends and family in states that now have abortion bans.
Leder felt it was important to bring her 5-year-old-daughter to the march.
“I felt if I could be at an event that was aimed for families and it was on the South Side — I felt like that was something that would be a lot easier for me to explain to my daughter why we are here,” Leader said.
“I want [my daughter] to be able to live the kind of life she wants, ” Leader said. “What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t advocate for her?”
Despite the ruling, local officials have pledged Chicago and Illinois will remain a “haven” where people can access abortions and other forms of reproductive health care. The city has also pledged $500,000 to help people.
The Chicago Abortion Fund is among several organizations in Illinois that helps people from across the country travel to access safe abortion care.
See more photos from Monday’s march here:
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