LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

CHICAGO (CBS) — There were pickets outside, but applause inside, as Gov. Pat Quinn presented an award to a rape victims’ advocate at on behalf of an abortion rights group Thursday.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Quinn presented the award to Jenny Goodman at an event at the Chicago Hilton & Towers sponsored by Personal PAC, a political action committee that supports abortion rights, and that donated $500,000 to Quinn’s campaign last year.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

Goodman is a rape survivor who has gone on to become an advocate for victims of rape.

Outside, abortion opponents were furious. Those who protested the even oppose all abortion, including in cases of rape and incest, and one woman, Mary Higgins, said she had a daughter as a result of being raped and ultimately, everything turned out fine.

“I was raped, and I conceived, and I had a daughter. She’s 32 now – beautiful girl – and hopefully will be having some grandchildren for me someday soon,” Higgins said.

Inside, Quinn called Goodman heroic.

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He said Goodman’s rape “did not let that stop her from reaching out and serving her fellow citizens.”

Quinn has been taken to task earlier this month for his plans to appear at the ceremony and present the award. Francis Cardinal George and five downstate bishops issued a letter that called Quinn’s actions “irreconcilable with any honest profession of the Catholic faith.”

“With this action, Governor Quinn has gone beyond a political alignment with those supporting the legal right to kill children in their mother’s wombs to rewarding those deemed most successful in this terrible work,” the letter said.

Cardinal George later toned down his criticism, saying he did not know Goodman had been raped when he issued the letter.

At the awards ceremony, Goodman addressed the controversy and lauded Quinn.

“He took a lot of heat over giving me this award, and I hope you know that I was standing by your side cheering you on,” she said.

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Quinn, who is a Roman Catholic but has gone on record as being pro-choice, plans to meet for a thorough airing of views with Cardinal George.