SPRINGFIELD -- Legislation that would force some abortion clinics to meet higher medical standards was narrowly defeated by the Illinois House Wednesday after a heated debate.
Rep. Darlene Senger, a Naperville Republican, said all abortion clinics need to comply with the same medical standards as surgical centers. That would mean bigger doorways, hallways and other changes to better accommodate major medical equipment.
And for some clinics, that also would mean significant, costly upgrades.
Senger says her legislation is about making sure women have safe procedures.
"Women should have an equal opportunity to be in a safe building," she said.
Some Democrats, though, argued the clinics already are safe and have been regulated well by the state for more than 20 years.
Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, argued the legislation's real intent was to cost abortion clinics lots of money by requiring pricey upgrades.
"This is simply designed to put these clinics out of business," Nekritz said. "This is not about protecting women."
Senger's plan fell three votes short of approval, getting a 57-51 vote. Seven lawmakers voted "present," though, leaving open the possibility that Senger could find more supporters in the coming days and ask for another vote.
She said she plans to learn their concerns and try again soon.