People in Chicago ponder Roe reversal

The loss of constitutional protections for abortion leave some concerned about what rights might be lost next.

SHARE People in Chicago ponder Roe reversal
Jamie Macpherson, Dave Gonzalez, Becca Schwartz and Karissa Kosman

Chicagoans (from left) Jamie Macpherson, Dave Gonzalez, Becca Schwartz and Karissa Kosman in Humboldt Park.

Michael Loria/Sun-Times

Jamie Macpherson was in mid-battle when she heard her constitutional right to an abortion had been taken away.

Macpherson, a 34-year-old Chicago teacher, was in Humboldt Park attending a course in stage combat, and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade had her and others wondering what other battles might be ahead.

“I’m just reeling,” Macpherson said. “Even if you know it’s coming, it’s makes you shake. It makes me afraid for what else they can take away.” 

Sparring alongside her was Karissa Kosman, who said as a Black queer woman, she has reason to fear what might happen next.

“Losing this makes me nervous,” said Kosman. “Black people are already facing so much, queer people are already facing so much, trans people are facing so much. Am I not going to be able to marry a white woman next?”

The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have no immediate impact on a person’s right to have an abortion in Illinois; a state law already was in place to preserve the right to an abortion should Roe be overturned.

But it had an immediate impact on people’s emotions, regardless. Here’s a sampling of interviews conducted in and around several Chicago parks on Friday.

“As someone who’s queer and in a queer relationship, I’m considering leaving. It’s not safe for us, it’s not safe for us to go out, we can’t get reliable healthcare. And that might involve leaving until things change and that’s a change I might not live to see,” said Becca Schwartz, 25, who also was in the stage combat group.

“What’s next, Loving v. Virginia?” wondered Dave Gonzalez, 39, who was teaching the course. He was referring to the 1967 Supreme Court decision which found that laws banning interracial marriage violated the Constitution.

Aurea Bonet in Humboldt Park on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Aurea Bonet, in Humboldt Park for a family gathering, is opposed to abortion.

Michael Loria/Sun-Times

Aurea Bonet of Chicago was in Humboldt Park for a family gathering.

“It shouldn’t be legal, there’s already so many ways you can prevent getting pregnant,” said Bonet.

But like many families, this one had a range of opinions.

“The court shouldn’t do that,” said Miriam Cerda, 57. “Everyone should have the the right to their own body and to make their own decision.”

Miriam Cerda, 57, in Humboldt Park.

Miriam Cerda, 57, was in Humboldt Park for a family gathering on Friday. She supports abortion rights.

Michael Loria/Sun-Times

Over in Garfield Park, Ronald Ford said he opposes abortion — in most cases.

“My stance is that I’m glad that when I was in my mother’s womb it was illegal. I’m glad I wasn’t aborted,” said Ford, who said he was in his 60s, but didn’t want to give his exact age. But, he added, “my thing is if someone was raped, [the decision] should be up to her.”

“Let people do what they want. It’s their body, it’s their life,” said Nicole Mack, a pregnant woman in her 30s, who also declined to give her exact age.

Kelan Smith, 24 and Keila, 23, in Harrison Park.

Kelan Smith, 24 and Keila, 23, in Harrison Park.

Michael Loria/Sun-Times

At Harrison Park, Kelan Smith said it was important for men to take a stand for abortion rights.

“I’m horrified by it and I’m speaking up because people who don’t have uteruses are remaining too silent on the issue,” said Kelan Smith, 24.

“People should be able to do what they want with their bodies. Whether it’s the right decision or not,” said Serenity, 36, who declined to give a last name. “People are going to be do it illegally now. They’re going to go to some shady doctor. It’s not safe.”

“It’s taking women back 50 years,” said Rebecca Gutierrez, 46, visiting Chicago from Colorado.

“This is what the Trump thing has come down to, because this is what they wanted. I think gay rights are next. It’s a snowball effect.”

Rebecca Gutierrez, interviewed in Chicago on June 24, 2022.

Rebecca Gutierrez is visiting Chicago from Colorado. She believes that with the loss of abortion rights, gay rights also could come under assault.

Michael Loria/Sun-Times

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