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Protests take over downtown Urbana after repeal of Roe v. Wade

Protestors rallied in Urbana on Friday after The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

URBANA — Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was met with impassioned backlash in Champaign County. 

The Party for Socialism and Liberation in Champaign organized a 100 person-plus rally Friday evening in support of abortion-rights.

Abortion-rights supporters circled downtown Urbana and the edge of the University of Illinois. They put a halt to traffic for about an hour.

Julia Freeman, an Urbana resident, held a sign saying “abortion access is a Jewish value.” Freeman said that not all religious people oppose abortion rights.

“To me, to be Jewish, is to support choice, and so when there are laws that don’t allow access to choice and abortion, that is restricting my religious freedom as well as my bodily autonomy as a person with a uterus,” Freedman said.

A recent lawsuit from a South Florida synagogue challenged Governor Ron DeSantis’s legislation that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks. The synagogue said that under Jewish law, abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being” of a pregnant woman.

Members of Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish group, also attended the protest.

Planned Parenthood’s Health Center Manager in Champaign, Jennifer Fetters, was there with her co-workers. She said it’s a bad moment for the country, but that their doors are still open.

“You know I’m proud that we still live in a state where abortion is still legal and available to women. But not just abortion…our services are available to everyone,” Fetters said.

Fetters said Planned Parenthood has been preparing for this moment since a high court draft opinion was leaked in May, and she expected many residents in neighboring states to use Planned Parenthood services in Illinois.

Protests across the country are expected to continue in support of abortion rights.

Harrison Malkin is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow him @HarrisonMalkin

Picture of Harrison Malkin

Harrison Malkin

Harrison Malkin is a politics reporter at Illinois Public Media. He's focusing on elections across the state, particularly the 13th and 15th congressional districts and the gubernatorial race. Malkin studied Politics and Communications at Ithaca College, where he was a nightly newscaster and reporter for WICB. From 2020 to 2021, he was a reporting fellow at the Center on Media, Crime, and Justice at John Jay College. You can send a tip, recommendation, or note to hmalkin@illinois.edu.

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