More than 7,000 expected at Chicago anti-abortion march

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 17, 2016 7:11 AM

By Mary Wisniewski and Renita D. Young

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Anti-abortion organizers expect more than 7,000 people to participate in a "March for Life" in downtown Chicago on Sunday, five days before the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

The Chicago march, expected to be the largest in its three-year history, offers a Midwest alternative for those unable to attend the larger march held in Washington, D.C., every Jan. 22, said Emily Zender, president of March for Life Chicago.

Speakers in Chicago will include Archdiocese of Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich; Corey Brooks, a politically active pastor of a mostly black Chicago church; and Wilfredo De Jesus of the evangelical New Life Covenant Church, a prominent Hispanic pastor.

Zender said the mix of speakers shows the anti-abortion movement draws from a variety of ethnic, political and religious backgrounds.

"Whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, whether you're religious or not religious, we can all come together under the issue of life," Zender said.

Many states have imposed new restrictions on abortion in recent years, some of which have been challenged in court.

In its first abortion case since 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by late June on a Texas abortion law imposing restrictions on clinics and physicians that conduct abortions, which critics say is intended to limit abortion access.

The contentious issue also has received increased national attention in the past year because of attempts by Republican legislators to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides health services for women, including abortions.

U.S. opinion on abortion has remained deeply divided over the decades. In a November Reuters/Ipsos poll of 3,387 U.S. adults, 43 percent of respondents said abortion should be legal in most or all cases, 41 percent said it should be illegal in most or all cases and 16 percent said they were unsure.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski and Renita D. Young in Chicago; Editing by Bill Trott)