Local advocates for abortion rights are reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The landmark 1973 decision guaranteed federal rights to an abortion. On Friday, justices ruled the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion and therefore such a ruling shouldn’t be in place. Immediately after, protesters on both sides of the issue surrounded the Supreme Court.
Abortion regulations are now left up to the states to decide. Anticipating the impending decision, several states have already issued abortion bans. Advocates for reproductive rights are worried about how the decision will impact those seeking access to safe abortions.
“Even though we knew it was coming, you know we were pre-warned in a way, it still feels very much like a gut punch,” said Felicia Davis Blakley, president and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women. “I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of loss for so many women, so many girls across our country that this is going to impact very negatively.”
The ruling won’t change abortion access in Illinois, but the ACLU warns it’s not just reproductive rights that could be at stake. The decision could impact other rights the Supreme Court has previously deemed constitutional like same-sex marriage and access to contraception.
“What I will say is this case is more than just abortion. This particular case talks about abortion, but it is grounded in the right to privacy,” said Ameri Klafeta, director of Women’s and Reproductive Rights at ACLU of Illinois. “There are many other significant rights wrapped up in the right to privacy, someone’s ability to make their own personal decisions about using birth control, about who to marry, about who they love. Those are all bound up in the right to privacy and those are all going to be on the table now.”
Anti-abortion groups celebrated Friday’s ruling. Illinois Right to life released a statement, saying in part, “With today’s decision, pro-life citizens must work harder than ever to defend life in Illinois. The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is an incredible victory for our nation but here in Illinois, the work of pro-life advocates is just beginning.”