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Reproductive Rights Activists to Rally Thursday

Reproductive rights activists will hold a rally on Thursday in Daley Plaza in the wake of sweeping legislation passed in recent weeks that heavily restricts reproductive freedoms in multiple states across the country.

A sign made by demonstrators planning to rally for reproductive rights on Thursday in Daley Plaza. Photo provided by Kelly Hayes.

More than a dozen states this year have either passed or attempted to pass legislation that restricts, nearly outlaws, or criminalizes abortion. In early May Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that makes it illegal to receive an abortion once a heartbeat is detected in the womb, at about six weeks. Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi all passed similar legislation. Last week Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed one of the most restrictive abortion bills, making it a felony to perform an abortion in nearly all cases, including rape and incest.

Right wing conservatives, emboldened by the Trump administration which has helped pack the Supreme Court with a majority of conservative justices, have been making a hard push to restrict access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare. Many of these new bills are likely to face challenges in the courts and some could even end up being heard by the Supreme Court, which could challenge the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case.

Thursday’s rally will be the second rally for reproductive freedom this week. According to the Chicago Tribune, hundreds of demonstrators rallied to protest anti-abortion legislation at the Thompson Center on Monday. Thursday’s rally will include speakers from the Chicago Abortion Fund, Lifted Voices, Midwest Access Coalition and more, and is endorsed by Black Lives Matter Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, and others.

“Beating back these draconian laws is not enough. Conservatives got this far with a decades-long strategic project to enact their agenda,” said Kelly Hayes, one of the rally organizers, in an emailed statement. “We will counter that agenda with bold demands of our own. We don’t just want to end these bans. We want reproductive justice, and we want free, safe abortion on demand and without apology.”

Thursday’s demonstration will begin at 5:30 at Daley Plaza downtown. Nearly 8,000 people have expressed interest or said they’re attending via a Facebook event.

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