RIVER NORTH — Some of Chicago's political heavyweights descended on downtown's Carnivale Restaurant Wednesday night for a fundraiser marking the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, hosted the event at the swanky downtown restaurant.
Movers and shakers of Chicago's political scene were in attendance, including former Senior Advisor to President Obama David Axelrod, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Illinois Lieutenant Governor Shelia Simon. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was also scheduled to speak at the event.
Those in attendance talked about the importance of the Supreme Court decision, including Dorothy Mayer who said she worked for Planned Parenthood.
"I believe in my heart people have the right to choose," Mayer said, adding it is important to continue to protect that right today.
"When it comes to LGBT rights, we're coming into the 21st century," Mayer said. "When it comes to a woman's right to choose, we're dancing backwards into the 18th century."
Meanwhile, standing just outside the doors of the restaurant, anti-abortion advocates protested the event with graphic pictures of aborted fetuses. Some protesters yelled things such as "you make a living by killing" and "isn't it nice to be alive" at party-goers as they entered the restaurant.
Matt Yonke, of the Pro-Life Action League based in Chicago, said he and others braved the freezing tempatures because they believe "that abortion is the taking of an innocent life."
"If Planned Parenthood is going to try and celebrate it, we're going to make sure the reality of abortion is clear to everyone who attends," Yonke said.
But back inside the restaurant, people like Mayer did not let the protestors bother them.
"They have every right to be here," Mayer said, shrugging.