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Protesters turn out in Federal Plaza against prospect of overturning Roe v. Wade; abortion opponents also speak out

Protesters turn out in Federal Plaza against possible overturning of Roe v. Wade 02:53

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Protesters in favor of abortion rights gathered in Federal Plaza downtown Tuesday evening, after the leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the leak Tuesday and issued a statement reading in part: "To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way."

If the Supreme Court opinion does become a final decision, access to abortion will depend on what state you live in. In Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker says regardless of what the Supreme Court ultimately decides, all women will continue to have the right to choose.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, abortion rights activists in federal plaza were outraged as they chanted and held signs.

Many of the protesters held green flags or wore green bandanas. The color green became a symbol of abortion rights beginning in Argentina in 2018, and spreading throughout Latin America in what was dubbed the "Marea Verde," or "Green Wave."

Meanwhile, opponents of abortion also spoke out Tuesday.

"Every Abortion takes the life of a child, and puts the mother at risk for emotional and physical trauma," said Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life.

If the leaked opinion becomes law, leaders with Planned parenthood of Illinois expect more people to travel to Illinois for abortions.

Nearly 9,700 people from other states received an abortion in Illinois in 2020, according to the state's Department of Public Health - with Missouri and Indiana residents making up the majority. 

Many conservative states have trigger laws - laws that would kick in and make abortion illegal almost immediately If Roe v. Wade is overturned. In Missouri, such a law is already in place.

But Indiana doesn't have trigger laws on the books - at least not yet. Abortion there is legal up to 22 weeks.

"Indiana sees this as a more complicated issue than other states, with different economic consequences, different personal consequences, different medical consequences - and it has pursued a more reasoned line, you know, to this point," Indiana University Law Professor Jody Madeira told CBS 2's Chris Tye Tuesday.

Back in Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker made his position clear.

"Abortion will continue to be safe and legal here in Illinois as long as I'm governor," he said.

Again, while there are no trigger laws on the books in Indiana, it is widely believed that state legislators there may feel the political freedom to push one through if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

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