Sweeping abortion protections get Illinois lawmakers' final OK
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker hugged and congratulated sponsors of legislation to protect abortion rights in Illinois after the Senate approved the plan 34-20 late Friday night.
The Democratic governor has pledged to sign the bill. It makes Illinois' abortion law among the nation's most sweeping in response to action in at least six Republican-controlled states in recent weeks that sharply restricts access to the procedure.
The measure sponsored by Grayslake Democratic Sen. Melinda Bush would rescind prohibitions on some late-term abortions and 45-year-old criminal penalties for performing the procedure. It would create access to contraception, pregnancy benefits, abortion procedures, diagnostic testing and other related health care as a fundamental right.
"As states across the country pass dangerous laws restricting access to abortion, we in Illinois are standing with women and guaranteeing access to reproductive health care," Bush said in a statement late Friday night. "There's a very real possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in the next few years. The Reproductive Health Act guarantees that women in Illinois have the right to make decisions about their bodies, regardless of what happens at the federal level."
The restrictions adopted after the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion have never been enforced Illinois because of court injunctions.
Republicans and others opposed to abortion rights have worked furiously against it. They staged a rally in March that stuffed 4,000 protesters into the Capitol.
Recent passage of abortion restriction laws in states such as Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Ohio spurred the measure to get a second life this session. Legislation in some of those states was advanced, in part, to challenge the Roe v. Wade.