Anti-abortion, abortion rights activists engage in heated exchange after Supreme Court’s ruling

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Dozens outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Rockford shout for change or for joy following the supreme court’s decision despite the ruling not having any effect on Illinois.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that puts abortion laws in the hands of the states reverberates throughout the country. It even reached the steps of the federal courthouse in downtown Rockford where abortion rights and anti-abortion activists faced off in a verbal spar.

“We expected it exactly to come in at the end of June and we’re ecstatic,” says Rockford Family Initiative Communications Director Danniel Pribble.

“This news is awful. it’s the first time that the Supreme Court has ever taken away a constitutional right,” says Winnebago County Citizens for Choice President Barb Giolitto.

Abortion rights activists call the decision devastating, but say their message is clear: “we will not go back.”

“I feel very certain. They will come after other things like birth control. I think you’re really gonna see some marching in the streets if that happens,” says Giolitto.

Anti-abortion activists gathered in what they call a celebration of life. Those who attended say Friday’s ruling proves the initial Roe v. Wade decision was a terrible one, but they claim Friday’s decision was only a small victory and feel there is still a lot of work to do.

“Many states will completely outlaw abortion, which is a wonderful thing. Many babies will be saved. And unfortunately here in Illinois, that won’t be the case,” says Pribble.

Those on both sides of the issue urge people to make a difference at the polls by voting for candidates who support their views on the abortion issue.

“To force pregnancy upon women, it’s totally not a question that was never supposed to be in the books,” says Giolitto.

“50 years ago, nobody would have imagined the overturn so you might not be able to imagine now, Illinois becoming pro-life but it can’t happen,” says Pribble.

Abortion rights leaders plan to work with neighboring states to help women get access to an abortion. All of the states surrounding Illinois ban a women’s right to abortion.

Anti-abortion leaders plan for more rallies later this year and hope for peaceful protest between the two sides.

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