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Abortion opponents rally in Loop 41 years after Roe vs. Wade ruling

Abortiopponents gathered rally Sunday outside Kluczynski Federal Building Chicago’s Loop  for March for Life Chicago before marching toward James

Abortion opponents gathered at a rally Sunday outside the Kluczynski Federal Building in Chicago’s Loop for the March for Life Chicago before marching toward the James R. Thompson Center to chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, Roe vs. Wade has got to go." | Brian Slodysko/Sun-Times

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Updated: February 21, 2014 6:26AM



After an anti-abortion rally in Chicago’s Loop on Sunday, Cardinal Francis George said the faithful need to keep in mind that being a good Catholic means you must believe in the sanctity of life.

“A good Catholic has to say that life begins when science tell us it begins — at conception,” George said.

He was in like-minded company. Hundreds huddled in freezing temperatures outside the Kluczynski Federal Building for the March for Life Chicago, a gathering of abortion opponents.

The crowd coalesced to the sounds of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and left on a march toward the James R. Thompson Center to chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, Roe vs. Wade has got to go.”

In between, an interfaith array of religious leaders urged those in attendance to “call the nation back to the reverence and respect of human life,” as Cesar LeFlore, the founder of Chicago’s African-American PowerLight Ministries, put it.

Meanwhile, supporters beat drums and cheered as speakers took to the stage and called for the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling — whose 41st anniversary is this week — that legalized abortion.

While most of the speakers called for further limits on abortions, the number of women who have had an abortion has dropped in recent years.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that since 2000 there has been a slow but gradual decrease in the abortion rate. The number of abortions performed per 1,000 women is at its lowest point since the mid-’70s, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health think tank.

The CDC attributes the drop to improved access to birth control.

We live in “a culture that has been cleverly tricked into thinking that abortion is good,” said speaker Linda Couri, 44, of Libertyville, who said her conscience was “stung” by her previous employment at a reproductive health clinic.

“We may have worn shirts that said ‘condoms are cool’ but not one person even wore a shirt that said, ‘Abortion is awesome,’ ” Couri said of her former co-workers. “We all kind of knew there was something sad going on.”

U.S. Rep Dan Lipinski, D-Illinois, also spoke at the rally. He is sponsoring a bill in Congress that would permanently ban the use of federal money for abortions. There is a ban in place, but it must be re-approved by Congress every year, he said. Lipinski said being vocally opposed to abortion matters to Catholics in his Southwest Side and suburban district.

“A clear majority of Americans say ‘No taxpayer money should be used to fund abortions,’ ” Lipinski said.

“In the past this was not a partisan issue,” said Lipinksi, who added that it’s tough to fight against abortion in a Democratic Party that resolutely supports abortion rights. “It’s unfortunate that is has become that way.”

Email: bslodysko@suntimes.com

Twitter: @brianslodysko



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