Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, Utah, and Kansas. If it seems like you've heard a lot about those states in the recent weeks, it's likely because they all have one thing in common: passing extremely restrictive abortion laws that effectively ban and criminalize the practice. Nationwide, both red and blue states alike have begun drafting and enacting legislation concerning abortion, as they start to envision a world without Roe v. Wade. In 1973, this landmark ruling made abortions legal and made a woman's choice whether to bear a child a constitutional right. Many Republican-majority states hope their new restrictive measures will force the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn the ruling.
Illinois has ensured the war on women would not be permissible in the state. Moreover, lawmakers fear of the danger women will be in if they do not have access to reproductive healthcare if Roe v. Wade is indeed overturned.
On Tuesday, May 28, 2019, the Illinois House of Representatives passed the Reproductive Health Act by a vote of 65-40. Chicago Democratic Representative Kelly Cassidy and sponsor of the bill said it best when she declared, "today, Illinois says we are better than this war on women. Illinois says we trust women. Please join me in saying that loud and clear: 'we trust women.'"
While not yet finalized, the bill is making its way to the Senate where it will face a simple path to passage. Urging the Senate into action, J.B. Pritzker has eagerly awaited signing the act into law because he believes everything must be done "to protect women's rights in Illinois." Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan further praised the Reproductive Health Act because it ensures women's health "will always be a fundamental right in Illinois." With the passing of restrictive laws in other states, "the extreme politicians are leading an unprecedented assault on women's rights," he continued. Democratic lawmakers strengthened their position against their Republican opponents by arguing against restrictive abortion laws which only "drive women underground to get abortions, and disproportionately affects lower-income and more vulnerable positions."
Illegal, unsafe abortions will never disappear.
The Reproductive Health Act is a necessary step in the right direction to protect women. First, it repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 and removes its provisions. These include the need for spousal consent, long waiting periods, criminal penalties for doctors performing abortions, and restrictions on abortion facilities. Rather, the new bill establishes the constitutional right of a pregnant woman to have an abortion and makes clear that "a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights." Second, the bill repeals the state's partial-birth abortion ban provision on later-stage pregnancies, which imposed restrictions on doctors performing abortions at 20+ weeks of pregnancy. Statistics from the ACLU reveal the majority of abortions, 90% are performed within 13 weeks of pregnancy. Doctors must be the ones making professional decisions, not lawmakers.
There you have it, the war on women won't be entertained in Illinois.
"Lawmakers are not doctors. Doctors need to use the accepted standard of clinical care to make their decision to the best of their knowledge." — Kelly Cassidy, Chicago Democratic Representative.