Photo: Draft SCOTUS opinion on abortion draws courthouse square demonstration

group of people holding signs with slogans like "My body, my choice" and "Abortion is healthcare" standing in front of a 35-foot tall war memorial monument with American flag and courthouse dome in the background
People demonstrate against the US Supreme Court’s draft opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade. (May 3, 2022)

A bit after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, at least 30 Bloomington area residents gathered on the southeast corner of the downtown courthouse square, to demonstrate their support of a legal right for women to choose an abortion.

Prompting Tuesday’s demonstration was a leaked draft of a US Supreme Court opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade. That’s the 1973 decision by the court that concluded the Constitution confers a broad right to obtain an abortion.

The draft of the leaked memo was published by Politico on Monday evening. The analysis by the Associated Press on Tuesday allows for some possibility that the final opinion could differ in ways that matter: “[I]t’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter—opinions often change in ways big and small in the drafting process.”

In Bloomington on Tuesday, the demonstrators held signs with slogans, which they also chanted: “Hands off Roe!” “We won’t go back!” “Abortion is: Healthcare!” “My body, my choice!”

In a counter-demonstration, a woman held a sign with the word “CHOICE” as a header in all-caps and quotation marks. The image on the woman’s sign showed what appeared to be an aborted fetus in the palm of someone’s hand.

The demonstration took place in a customary spot for Bloomington—in front of the 35-foot tall Alexander Memorial at the intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Walnut Street. It’s a monument honoring veterans of all wars.

Earlier on Tuesday, the masons who were working to restore and refurbish the monument wrapped up their work. They were mortaring the joints of the limestone panels that had been installed to replace those that had eroded over time.

The construction fencing, which has been in place around the Alexander Memorial for several weeks, was removed from around the monument in the early afternoon on Tuesday. That made Bloomington’s customary venue for demonstration and protest again available a few hours later, for the demonstration supporting a legal right to abortion.