Carly Mostar started marching for abortion rights nearly 20 years ago and although she said she would continue to show up when needed, she finds it hard to believe it still takes fight to give a woman a choice.
Mostar was one of nearly 1,000 people representing many different communities who gathered at Union Park in West Town on Saturday morning in the glorious sunshine to support the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
The Abortion Justice Rally, part of a nationwide Ban Our Body day of action, began at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., around 9:30 a.m.
Chanting, “Abortion is health care, abortion is a right,” “My body, my choice,” and “Let’s choose,” supporters began marching east on Washington Boulevard around 11:30 a.m. before turning head towards the Loop neighborhood of the city. , at Wacker Drive and LaSalle Street about an hour later.
Saturday’s outpourings join a wave of abortion rights protests currently sweeping the country in light of a leaked Supreme Court draft ruling that sought to overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic case for the right to abortion.
Mostar walked alongside her husband, Nick Rummler, while holding her 14-month-old son, Ellis Mostar Rummler, in a front carrier. Rummler said he was marching to “support everyone who supports access to abortion.”
“It’s all about visibility, and maybe someone learns a little bit more about that,” Rummler said. “I think a lot of people don’t fully understand it or don’t understand what Roe is or don’t understand what’s going on right now. I want people to learn. »
Mostar said she was “really sad” thinking of all the people who have been fighting for abortion rights longer than she has while looking around at the other children in the crowd struggling with the fact that “we haven’t done that for them yet”. .”
“I’ve always really cared about abortion rights, but especially after having a pregnancy and a child, it’s the most difficult thing in many ways, and if it’s forced on people,” said Mostar.
Mostar and his family have lived in the city for about 10 years.
“We went through IVF and tried for many years and we wanted it so badly and it was still the hardest thing I’ve ever done and when I think about forcing people to do it I’m really, really upset.”
The only way forward, Mostar said, is to “frame the conversation around the right things,” like hearing from people with lived experiences of pregnancy and abortion and understanding the implications of what reversing the ban might be. Supreme Court.
“I hope people will be as scared as I am and do whatever they can from wherever they can,” Mostar said. “I hope it scares people.”
As they marched through the streets, Chicago police followed them in cars and on foot after diverting traffic from their path. Chicago Fire Department emergency crews were also on the scene. Although chaotic, the event was peaceful and organizers appeared to be working with the police. No arrests were reported.
Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton was in attendance at Union Park and told the crowd that as a black woman and mother of four daughters, she has spent her life fighting “for more rights, not less.”
“I am devastated by what the overturning of Roe v. Wade would mean for bodily autonomy and human rights across the country,” Stratton said. “I’m irritated by the effort to go back, to treat us like second-class citizens, to be told our bodies don’t belong to us.”
Stratton said Saturday’s rally was not just about abortion justice, but also about racial and economic justice.
“Because in this country we shouldn’t criminalize health care,” she said. “We should expand access to health care. And because we all know that if and when Roe v. Wade is canceled, it is those in our most marginalized communities who will bear the brunt of this decision.
As Mostar walked with her son and husband, she felt a glimmer of hope seeing the large number of people showing up to protest in Chicago and thinking of the millions more across the country.
“I mean you go out and walk with your feet so you don’t feel lonely and other people don’t feel lonely,” she said. “I think there’s been too much complacency, so when I say I hope people are scared, I also hope they are hopeful. I think there needs to be a bit of fear to also think that something is possible.