Protesters ‘promise to stay in the streets’ after failed Senate effort to codify abortion rights

Chicago protesters continue to demonstrate in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion potentially overturning Roe v. Wade.

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Angelina Han, 20, and Emma Macfadyen, 20, both from Chicago, join other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Angelina Han, 20, and Emma Macfadyen, 20, both from Chicago, join other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Candice Choo-Kang was making $13 per hour when she got pregnant at 25 years old.

Abortion, she said, was the logical option.

“There was no way I would have been able to provide a child with housing, food and the things they need to have,” she said.

Choo-Kang, a public health researcher, joined other abortion rights activists in downtown Chicago on Wednesday following a failed last-ditch effort by Senate Democrats to codify federal abortion rights. Mostly along party lines, the Senate voted Wednesday afternoon against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Claudia Espinoza-Neal, 24, of Oak Lawn, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Claudia Espinoza-Neal, 24, of Oak Lawn, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

“We found out as we were arriving here,” said Claudia Espinoza-Neal, a cosmetologist who attended the rally. “I was hoping to see a permanent change, a step in the right direction.”

Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth both voted in favor of the bill, and a similar bill was signed into Illinois law in 2019, protecting the right to an abortion in the state.

With President Joe Biden in town at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the time of the rally, some activists called on him directly to do more for reproductive rights.

“Hey Joe, 57% of women voted for you,” one sign read. “Now … help us.”

The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests and rallies for abortion rights since a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was made public last week.

Protesters said their commitment isn’t waning.

“We promise to stay in the streets,” Meredith Miklasz, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said while addressing the crowd.

Candice Choo-Kang (center, in dark green), 32, leads a chant with other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening during a protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Candice Choo-Kang (center, in dark green), 32, leads a chant with other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening during a protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Kerrington Hall, 29, of Printer’s Row, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Kerrington Hall, 29, of Printer’s Row, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Cait Nosal, center, 30, of Lincoln Park, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Cait Nosal, center, 30, of Lincoln Park, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Meredith Miklasz, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Meredith Miklasz, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Cait Nosal, 30, of Lincoln Park, wears “fund abortion” hair pins as she joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Cait Nosal, 30, of Lincoln Park, wears “fund abortion” hair pins as she joins other abortion rights activists Wednesday evening to protest on Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the U.S. Senate voted against pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act forward.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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