Students, faculty rally for abortion rights


Rob Le Cates

Atlas Hennegan, a senior English major, delivers a speech to the crowd during the Defend Roe! Emergency Rally at the Mellin Steps Thursday afternoon. Hennegan and several other speakers encouraged protesters with chants and offered personal stories.

Corryn Brock and Madelyn Kidd

Members of the Eastern community held a rally Thursday afternoon in response to the Supreme Court’s draft opinion that indicates support for overturning Roe v. Wade.

Over a dozen people spoke to the crowd about their concerns about the potential outcomes of the opinion, all sharing that they support access to abortions.

Jeannie Ludlow, a professor of English and women’s, gender and sexuality studies who gave the closing speech at the rally, said she came because she believes students should have the opportunities she had in college.

“I had an abortion in college and it made it so I could graduate from college and I think it’s really important that all my students have the same chance that I had,” Ludlow said. “I feel very passionate about the fact that this decision is going to negatively affect (students) and I feel very passionate about the fact that my students organized something and I wanted to be sure to be here and support.”

During her speech, she urged the crow to do three things: say the word still, vote and have conversations with those who are anti-abortion.

Ludlow emphasized that people should focus on the fact that abortion is still legal and support those seeking an abortion.

“Abortion is still legal. It’s still legal and the other thing is, I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘Oh, thank goodness, we’re in Illinois and not Texas’, but that’s not always a very helpful way to think and the people in Illinois are gonna suffer from this too,” Ludlow said. “We might not suffer by losing abortion rights, but we might lose by not being able to get appointments at our clinics because they’re overwhelmed because people have to come from Missouri, and Michigan, and Wisconsin and Indiana and Kentucky and Texas to Illinois to have abortions right.”

Atlas Hennegan, an organizer of the rally and senior English and philosophy major, said they felt good about the turnout.

“I’m really excited. I’m so happy. I know from the outside it must not look like that much. But we have to think about the fact that it’s cold, it’s raining and it’s finals week, Hennegan said. Most people have already moved out and can’t even show up if they wanted to. So I’m so happy at the turnout that we had it like it would have been better if it was a few weeks ago, but considering the dates, I’m so glad for the turnout.”

Hennegan said they felt the rally was important to have to defend Roe v. Wade.

“The point is the protection of humanity, not just women and not just uteruses, but the protection that we have the right to make our own decisions,” Hennegan said. “We have the right to choose if we want to get pregnant, we have the right to choose if we don’t want to get pregnant, and we need to continue having Roe v. Wade in order to continue our literal rights that were given to (people) by birth.”

The rally was organized by EIU Young Democratic Socialists of America and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

This rally is the first of two that were planned for the week. Coles Progressives will also host a rally Friday at Morton Park from noon to 1 p.m.


Corryn Brock and Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].