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Thousands in Illinois rally for abortion rights, oppose Texas curbs – The Pantagraph

Womens March Illinois

The Illinois Handmaids protest abortion restrictions at a rally in downtown Springfield, Ill., on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Rallies were held in major cities across the country to demand continued access to abortion. 

SPRINGFIELD — Sign-waving, chanting crowds rallied in Illinois Saturday to protect abortion rights just weeks after Texas restrictions all but banned the procedure in that state.

Thousands of people gathered in Daley Plaza in Chicago chanting, “Our body, our choice,” before marching through the Loop. In Springfield, several hundred people gathered on the south side of the Old State Capitol plaza, just two of 650 similar actions around the country, according to Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

Womens March Illinois

Gretchen Snow of Bloomington Ill., displays a sign attached to a clothes hanger recalling women and girls who died as a result of botched abortions before the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision during a Women’s March on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021 in Springfield, Ill. Rallies were held in major cities across the country to demand continued access to abortion. 

The Women’s March has become a recurring event since the first one was staged in Washington, D.C., just after the inauguration of former President Donald Trump, a staunch abortion opponent. But it took on a new urgency Saturday, with the Texas law scheduled to wend its way through the court system and clinics outside of Texas filling up with appointments.

Just two day after the Texas law took effect, Planned Parenthood saw the first women from Texas arriving in Illinois for the procedure, said Brigid Leahy, senior director or public policy.

“They are trying to figure out paying for airfare or gas or a train ticket, they may need hotel and meals,” Leahy said.

“They have to figure out time off of work, and they have to figure out child care. This can be a real struggle.”

Womens March Illinois

Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, addresses hundreds who attended an abortion-rights rally at the Old State Capitol square in downtown Springfield, Ill., on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Leahy said just day after restrictions on abortions took effect in Texas, women began arriving in Illinois to seek the procedure. 

Prominent among the Springfield crowd were the Illinois Handmaids, a group of women in red robes and white bonnets reminiscent of the automatons of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” carrying signs that said, “Mind Your Own Uterus” and “Mother By Choice.”

Rodrigo Carrillo, director of strategic initiatives and planning for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, says the state will finish reviewing rental assistance applications ahead of the eviction moratorium’s expiration on Oct. 3. “While there’s a national negative narrative of states aren’t getting their money out, we’re very proud that Illinois is doing the opposite,” Carrillo said. “We are getting the funds to those in need.”

Although abortion is more accessible in Democratic-controlled Illinois than in many other places, both rallies in Chicago and the capital called for repeal of the state’s parental notification law, requiring an adult family member to be told about an abortion planned by a woman under 18 at least 48 hours in advance.

In Chicago, before Crystal Rosales spoke, several women walked by the microphone and said, “I’ve had an abortion, and I’m here to support Crystal,” reported the Chicago Tribune. Then, Rosales explained that she “made the hardest decision of my life” when she learned of her pregnancy in 2012.

Womens March Illinois

Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, addresses hundreds who attended an abortion-rights rally at the Old State Capitol square in downtown Springfield, Ill., on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Rallies were held in major cities across the country to demand continued access to abortion.

She said she dealt with guilt, shame and sadness, but finally concluded, “Abortion is health care. Abortion is essential. And abortion is freedom.”

Jack Paciolla of Springfield attended the Capital rally.

“We should be past this point where, they don’t have a choice over their bodies?” Paciolla said. “We shouldn’t be able to ban it. It (the abortion issue) has been decided, there’s precedent, why are we still dealing with this? It’s ridiculous.”

Jelani J.J. Day was reported missing Wednesday by his family and an Illinois State University faculty member.

BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington police said Friday that officers are continuing their search for Illinois State University graduate student Jelani J…

BLOOMINGTON — Police, family and friends continue to search for Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day after he went missing la…

Carmen Bolden Day, mother of Jelani Day, recounts the last phone call she had with her son prior to his disappearance. Several people gathered…

BLOOMINGTON — For Carmen Bolden Day, no amount of money is worth keeping if she can’t have her son back.

Carmen Bolden Day, mother of missing Illinois State University student Jelani Day, speaks at an event Friday night in support of the search for him.

“I want you to know, Jelani is not dead and we will find him,” said his mother, speaking to a crowd of supporters on Friday night. 

Authorities are investigating after body was recovered Saturday morning from the Illinois River near LaSalle-Peru.

BLOOMINGTON — The search for a missing Illinois State University graduate student has continued into its fourth week.

BLOOMINGTON — A GoFundMe page to raise money for finding a missing Illinois State University student has generated $12,503 as of Monday.

BLOOMINGTON — The president of Illinois State University during her annual address to the campus community spoke about a graduate student who …

“We always say here, see something, hear something, know something, say something. Someone out there has seen, heard or knows something.”

Jelani Day, a 25-year-old graduate student at ISU, was last seen the morning of Aug. 24 walking into the Beyond / Hello in Bloomington, accord…

Authorities on Thursday said a body discovered in a river nearly three weeks ago has been confirmed as a graduate student missing from Illinoi…

A body found floating in the Illinois River in LaSalle County has been identified as that of missing Illinois State University graduate studen…

Missing ISU student identified after body found near Peru. READ MORE HERE.

Bloomington police Officer John Fermon during a press conference discusses the search for Jelani Day, the Illinois State University student wh…

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