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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Pro-choice activists protest crisis pregnancy center on International Women's Day
by Lu Calzada

This article shared 8708 times since Mon Mar 11, 2024
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The rainy weather on March 8 didn't deter a passionate group of pro-choice protesters from gathering in Old Town on International Women's Day.

Following the opening of Women's Care Center—a crisis pregnancy center—directly next to Planned Parenthood, Reproductive Transparency Now (RTN) and Chicago for Abortion Rights co-hosted a protest against the organization. Speakers included RTN founder Lisa Battisfore, physician Connie Lu and college student leader and activist Maya Roman.

"Crisis pregnancy centers" refer to establishments that give the impression they're helping women to decide on a reproductive choice that's best for them. However, they are staunchly anti-choice.

The March 8 gathering, which consisted of over 25 people of a range of ages, began with chants highlighting the intersectionality of the reproductive rights movement—mentioning women's rights, trans rights and gay rights. Multiple speakers also said how crisis pregnancy centers and anti-abortion forces can specifically target people of color and low-income communities.

Battisfore said the protest was specifically scheduled for International Women's Day in order to highlight women's achievements but also look towards the future of reproductive healthcare.

"Anti-abortion groups, including the one called 'Women's Care Center,' are out here intentionally working to impede and prevent access to abortion care regardless of the fact that it is legal," she said. "They chose this location specifically because this Planned Parenthood is the only Planned Parenthood in the city of Chicago that provides surgical abortions, and they feel it is important to be located here so they can intercept more people."

Last July, Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill outlawing these types of centers due to their "manipulation or misinformation from politically-motivated, non-medical actors." However, this was quickly struck down by a federal judge, allowing these centers to continue operating as usual in Illinois. In multiple states nationwide, these centers even receive government funding.

Lu, a volunteer for Chicago Abortion Fund, told the crowd how imperative it is for Illinoisans and those traveling from out of state have accurate and comprehensive medical information about all their reproductive options here. She said patients she has worked with have reported being forcibly prayed over, shown ultrasounds against their consent, and being lied to about the effects of certain procedures at crisis pregnancy centers.

"These anti-abortion extremists wear the same white coat as me, but do not provide essential healthcare," Lu said. "They do not respect choice nor reproductive autonomy."

The protest continued to keep an intersectional approach throughout, with nonbinary transmasc speaker Walker Fitz talking about his own abortion years ago and the importance of the necessary care he received. Fitz also emphasized another facet of reproductive inclusion, speaking on the difficulties now confronting pregnant and menstruating people in Gaza.

Before the final round of chants, Anne Rumberger, an activist with Chicago for Abortion Rights, spoke about the future of abortion care. She focused on the weight of the March 26 Supreme Court oral arguments for the rights to mifepristone—a commonly used abortion pill—and how it can affect people nationwide.

"This is a terrifying attack on a safe form of healthcare," she said. "We should fight it and make sure that we win, so that medication abortion remains accessible."

This article shared 8708 times since Mon Mar 11, 2024
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