I went to the Women’s March in Springfield on Tuesday, April 25th without expectation. I walked away with a sense of pride and cautious optimism for the future of Ilinois.
We arrived just as the speakers were starting. The crowd was already fired up! It was exciting to get quick handshakes and/or pictures with the likes of Comptroller Susanna Mendoza, political icon Jesse Jackson, State Senator Daniel Biss, and possible contender for IL-13 seat, State Representative Carol Ammons.
The capitol building is imposing on a good day. Tuesday it was filled wall to wall with different groups there for State Lobby Day. Strangely, most of the people there were Realtors from around the state.
My favorite group (besides us, of course) were the Beagle Freedom Project. Their goal this day was to get labs that use dogs for testing to contact local rescues when they release the animals after use. Of course, the *ultimate* goal is that labs never use any animal for testing, but their immediate lobbying effort that day was to see that these beautiful beagles (three of which were there to represent!) weren’t euthanized once the labs were done with them. Tears were shed (mine), bellies were rubbed (theirs).
After a maze of bodies and line-waiting, and by sheer luck, we were able to get into the viewing area of the House Chamber to see the last few speeches both for and against House Bill 40.
HB40 was the one bill of many I really put my hopes into passing. .
In the event Roe v. Wade is overturned, HB40 allows that Illinois will protect our right to legal abortion. This is huge.
Getting the opportunity to see *in person* this bill being discussed was surreal. And then it was time to vote.
I watched the little red and green button light up from my perch above the fray. I saw a lot of red light (nays). My stomach dropped. I watched the big board digital tally tick tick ticking until…
I let out the breath I didn’t even realize I was holding and scrambled to find a friendly face to hug, flush with pride that we finally got a “win”.
But the fight is NOT over.
Governer Rauner, in an about face from earlier campaign promises, has pledged to veto the bill if it ends up on his desk.
We cannot go back!
If the march taught me anything, it’s that we CAN make a difference. It’s up to us to make our voices heard. Safe and legal abortion is our right. Reproductive freedom isn’t negotiable. We can’t stop until those with the “power of the pen” know WE are the people they work for.
Yours in the fight,