After Dobbs ruling, each of us needs to find ways to protect fundamental rights
The abortion decision represents a huge victory for these forces and against the will of the American people.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade and stripping Americans of the constitutional right to an abortion somehow managed to be both a devastating gut punch and also completely unsurprising.
The ruling was unsurprising because of two well-documented arcs: the 50-plus year strategy on the part of the far right to populate our courts with judges whose primary loyalty is to movement conservatism rather than the law; and vicious procedural hardball played by Republican presidents and senators over the last decade to manipulate the judicial appointment process.
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The Dobbs decision represents a huge victory for these forces and against the will of the American people. In addition to being painful, that can feel demoralizing. After all, if this ruling was the result of decades of lavishly-funded organizing as well as game-playing by a few elite politicians, is there anything the rest of us can do to make a difference?
Luckily, yes there is.
Fortunately, here in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the General Assembly have taken bold steps to ensure our residents (and people who come here from other states) have access to reproductive care. And good news isn’t limited to progressive states. Recently, voters in deep-red Kansas overwhelmingly rejected a referendum that would have significantly limited abortion rights.
This is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and cities have to step up. Recently, the Evanston City Council voted on a resolution affirming our commitment to full access to reproductive health care.
That commitment means several things: It starts with our internal policies to ensure our employees have the care they need, and we fully protect their privacy (remember that plenty of workers in the Chicago area commute across state lines).
It continues with a partnership between our Health and Human Services Department, other city staff and local nonprofits to direct all people — whether they reside in Evanston or Illinois — to providers who can help them receive care. Our police department will develop protocols to protect people who have come to Evanston from jurisdictions with abortion bans or other draconian policies.
These initiatives came out of a simple process: Faced with this crisis, we asked ourselves what we could do. We do not expect this resolution will be the end of the road. Evanston is committed to thinking creatively and ambitiously about what we can do to protect the rights and liberties of our residents and anyone else who needs safety within our community.
Every person and institution has an obligation to do the same thing — to think critically and ambitiously about what they can do to safeguard fundamental rights. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is not just about access to abortions. It is about privacy, health care, bodily autonomy and self-determination.
Even as we steel ourselves for a 50-year battle, Evanston will take every immediate step we can, because each of those actions has the potential to transform a life.
Daniel Biss, mayor, Evanston
Juan Geracaris, Ninth Ward Councilmember, Evanston
Chicago needs dedicated festival grounds
The residents of the Douglass Park area are right to complain about losing access to their park for 40 days a year because of the for-profit companies that take over the area. The organizers of these events, like Riot Fest, also rightfully highlight how their events bring people to our area and add to our region’s vibrancy.
Chicago needs to turn a challenge into an opportunity by looking to our neighbors to the north. Milwaukee has a dedicated festival grounds, and it is time for Chicago to build the same.
Don Anderson, Oak Park