Local women-owned businesses raise almost $60,000 for Planned Parenthood IL


Illustration by Shveta Shah

Evanstonians for Reproductive Rights donated their funds to Planned parenthood Illinois to support access to abortion within Illinois, and for patients hailing from out-of-state for treatment.

Isabelle Butera, Reporter

On a sunny July afternoon, more than 300 Evanston residents took to the streets ― to dance. A crowd of mostly women clad in colorful shirts that read “abortion is healthcare” and “bans off our bodies,” sipped wine and danced to 70’s Soul music. The reason? Reproductive rights. 

The event kicked off Evanstonians for Reproductive Rights’ summer effort, which raised almost $60,000 for Planned Parenthood of Illinois.The coalition is led by local business owners, artists and community leaders. It was formed in the week following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that reversed the federal statute protecting abortion until the third trimester of pregnancy. 

The group wanted to act quickly and tap into the anger residents felt directly after the decision, organizer Katherine Gotsick said. 

“We’re particularly fired up by the overturning of Roe v. Wade and [thought] let’s just get a bunch of angry women together and see what we can do,” Gotsick said.

Illinois wrote the right to an abortion into law in 2019, meaning it is still available and legal in the state. The state acts as a Midwest hub for abortion, as all states bordering Illinois have already passed laws significantly limiting abortion. 

Clinics offering abortion services, like Planned Parenthood, have already seen an influx of out-of-state patients traveling into Illinois to access abortions. WTHR, the local NBC affiliate in Indiana, reported that the 17 Planned Parenthood of Illinois clinics saw an increase from 100 to about 750 out of state patients in the first week after Roe was overturned. 

The summer’s first event, hosted by Diana Hamann from The Wine Goddess, raised over $10,000 in raffle and ticket sales. Local businesses including Evanston SPACE, Sketchbook Brewing Company and Campagnola Restaurant donated raffle prizes. Aim & Ailie Hair Boutique offered free haircuts and Squeezebox Books & Music provided music. 

Then, from Aug. 11 to 14, more than 55 local businesses participated in a Shop and Give Event. Rachel Hershinow of Stella Boutique, Jaime Leonardi of Stumble & Relish and Aim Larrabee of Aim & Ailie Hair Boutique were among those who participated and helped organize the event. A portion of their sales went to a GoFundMe, raising an additional $15,000. 

“It was such a valuable experience, it shows the strength in numbers of people coming together for a common cause,” Hershinow said. “Grassroots movements do work. If we come together, big things can be accomplished.”

Evanstonians for Reproductive Rights collaborated with the Nasty Women Evanston group on Aug. 20 to co-host the group’s annual art show and increase donations to Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 

Between the three events and individual donations to the GoFundMe, Evanstonians for Reproductive Rights raised $58,341 of their $100,000 goal. 

The women were motivated by a responsibility to protect abortion access across the state. 

“Living in a blue state, you have to help your sisters across the country,” Hershinow said. “Living in Evanston, which is a very progressive city, and living in Illinois, which is a blue state, it’s our responsibility to take care of women.” 

Efforts by Republican leaders — such as Senator Lindsey Graham who introduced a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks — could overrule Illinois’s law. 

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker condemned the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion in May and has since promised to keep the state a “safe haven” for reproductive rights. 

“I believe Republicans at their word, I believe when they tell us they’re going to do something,” Hamann said. “To think that it’s not gonna affect Illinois, I think is naïve.” 

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of businesses involved in a Evanstonians for Reproductive Rights event. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @isabelle_butera

Related Stories: 

NU students discuss past and future work in abortion rights post-Roe

What Illinois reproductive rights would look like in a world without Roe v. Wade

Northwestern students rally in downtown Chicago for abortion access