Look No Further than the Midwest for a Champion of Reproductive Freedom
By Dan Rogan
Illinois sets the stage for abortion access in America
Two years before the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the ACLU of Illinois won a court victory recognizing the right to abortion. Every year since then, they have fought off attacks on reproductive freedom and, because of the ACLU of Illinois, there has been relatively unimpeded abortion laws in the state. In the last five years, the ACLU of Illinois has helped to block 27 anti-choice bills and resolutions in the General Assembly. Lorie Chaiten is a major reason why.
The Director of the Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project of the Roger Baldwin Foundation of ACLU of Illinois, Chaiten is also our distinguished speaker at this year’s Ed Likover Memorial Lecture. “Lorie has been an integral part of the litigations since she’s been out of law school,” says Colleen Connell, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Illinois.
Setting the tone for the region
The Midwest is not known as a safe haven for civil liberties. In fact, over the last few years some of the most heavy-handed civil liberties violations have occurred throughout the region. Constitutional rights have been trampled recently in Chicago, where police were using an off-the-books interrogation facility; in Indiana, where the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed; in Flint, Michigan, where the city’s municipal water supply is flowing with unsafe levels of lead; and in Ohio, where hundreds of thousands of people have been illegally purged from the voter rolls.
In the past five years, close to 300 anti-choice bills have passed nationwide.
Who is Lorie Chaiten?
Lorie leads the ACLU of Illinois’ efforts to secure rights to the full range of reproductive health care, medical privacy and gender equality, and works extensively in the national reproductive justice movement.
Ms. Chaiten has litigated numerous challenges to laws that impede access to abortion, contraception and other reproductive health care, including challenges to laws that require minors to involve their parents in their abortion decision; laws that impose medically unnecessary, burdensome restrictions on abortion facilities; and the challenge to the so-called “partial birth” abortion ban.
She is a founding member and sits on the board of the Midwest Access Project, an organization that envisions a society in which every person has access to patient-centered, quality reproductive health care within their community.
Ms. Chaiten is also a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and has taught in the Medical Ethics and Humanities Program at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University.
Join us for the 2016 Ed Likover Memorial Lecture with Lorie Chaiten.
Ms. Chaiten has a national reputation as well, working with the ACLU and other affiliates to protect reproductive freedom across the country. Currently, she is representing Preterm Ohio in the ACLU of Ohio’s challenge to unconstitutional abortion restrictions enacted as a part of Ohio’s 2013 biennial budget bill.
Join Lorie Chaiten and the ACLU of Ohio at the 2016 Ed Likover Memorial Lecture, “Rights You Can’t Use Aren’t Rights at All: Reproductive Freedom in the Midwest.” Engage with Lorie and hear her personal experiences defending reproductive rights for over 30 years.
For more information about the event, and to RSVP, visit our web page.