Friday’s outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Access to abortion remains legal in Illinois, though, prompting a show of support and protest at the Planned Parenthood of Aurora Health Center on Friday.
Batavia resident Sylvia Keppel was already there doing sidewalk counseling as part of Holy Cross Church’s Friday day of prayer when she got the news.
“It’s very exciting,” Keppel said. “God always wins. Sometimes, it takes a while, but God always wins.”
Keppel said she first started praying and doing sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood when her daughter was an infant in a sling carrier.
“She’s 15 now, so I’ve been going there for the last 15 years,” Keppel said. “We have a lot of work to do because Illinois is not pro-life. There are still states that don’t recognize the humanity of the unborn.”
Mary Brachle of Aurora said she was a little afraid to go the Aurora Planned Parenthood after hearing the news.
But she went anyway.
“I wanted to thank the prayer warriors and thank God for this day,” Brachle said. “And it was cool to me that it was very peaceful on both sides – maybe because of the heat. But a microcosm of society was peaceful right there.”
One of eight children and a lifelong Catholic, Brachle said her family also reflects different opinions on the abortion issue.
“We are constantly striving to stay a family, even if we have different opinions on something,” Brachle said. “So it’s possible and I hope – even if what I see nowadays is division and craziness – I hope we can get to that space where people on both sides can express opinion with respect for the other side.”
Brachle belongs to the Our Lady of Mercy parish in Aurora.
“I was in eighth grade in high school when Roe v. Wade was passed,” Brachle said. “I have been working and praying and fasting for this day for 50 years. I’m very excited and very happy, but also very sober because I know a lot of people have the complete opposite viewpoint. I hope this doesn’t lead to further division. I hope we can get together and be a peaceful nation.”
Corrine Marsala of Bolingbrook also came to the Aurora Planned Parenthood Friday.
“I am happy that we at least got over this hurdle,” Marsala said.
“We have a lot of stuff to do in Illinois. This is a danger state,” Marsala said. “Because there’s people who will be coming into this state, because they won’t be able to (have abortions) in other states. The work has just begun here in Illinois now. This is not it. We’re not at the finish line yet. The finish line is when we don’t have abortion in Illinois and across the board in the United States.”
A member of Our Lady of Peace in Darien, Marsala said she has worked with the Pro-Life Action League and 40 Days for Life, a campaign to end abortion through prayer and fasting.
She also supports the Waterleaf Women’s Center, 3055 E. New York St., Aurora, an anti-abortion counseling center – which is literally down the street from Planned Parenthood Aurora Health Center at 3051 E. New York St., Aurora.
“What I do is collect baby bottles in our church that people are supposed to donate money into those bottles,” Marsala said. “The bottles are for feeding their child, why not fill it with money and have donations sent that way? … Those bottles are collected and brought back to Waterleaf.”
Former Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus for Batavia and Geneva Kevin Callahan said he supported the high court’s decision today.
“I’m all for it,” said Callahan, now a resident of Carol Stream. “I think it’s correct. I don’t believe abortion is a constitutional right and it should go back to the state level where it belongs. And I understand we’re living here in Illinois and it doesn’t change anything for Illinois residents.”
State Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, said in a statement that Illinois already “has the most liberal abortion laws in the country, so this changes nothing in our state on this issue.”
However, not everyone supported the Supreme Court’s ruling.
While enjoying Swedish Days Friday morning, Val Vejseli, a former Geneva resident who now lives in Elgin, said that she was “upset” about the decision.
“Although it’s not a decision that I would choose to make for myself, it’s not a choice that I can take away from other people who need to make it,” she said.
Nicole Flores, a Palatine resident who was also at Swedish Days Friday morning, said she thinks the decision is “sad.”
“Fundamental rights are being sat upon,” she said.
Northern Illinois University Associate Professor Dr. Kathryn Cady, whose specialties include feminist theory and critical and cultural studies, said Roe v. Wade wasn’t just about abortion rights in 1973.
She said it coincided with a societal evolution that saw women’s status shift in the home and workplace.
”When Roe v. Wade was upheld in a 7-2 decision, women’s position in the labor force, their earning power, their ability to have a career and to be breadwinners, it has really kind of incredibility expanded in the last 50 years,” Cady said. “That is not entirely because of the right to have an abortion, but that certainly plays a role.”
With women’s roles and responsibilities expanding outside of the home, legalized abortion also meant greater access to reproductive health care for women from varying demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, Cady said, which also gave way to family planning with room for a professional role and increased household income.
”Restrictions on women’s rights to abortion disproportionately harm women with more limited financial means,” Cady said, who added she personally believes it’s a woman’s right to have an abortion.
”This is not going to stop abortion. It will just be worse on women’s health and worse on women’s economic standing.”
Those seeking the procedure may have to travel further at more expense to obtain a safe and legal abortion, Cady said.
”Women being able to plan their families the way that they think works best for them just leads to more financial opportunity and better life outcomes,” she said.
The Associated Press and Shaw Local reporter Shane Taylor contributed to this report