Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Reproductive Health Act on Wednesday in Chicago, proclaiming Illinois a beacon for the rest of the country at a time when other states have been working to restrict access to abortions.
“Our laws will now reflect the rulings of the courts and the current practices in our state,” Pritzker said surrounded by lawmakers and activists. “The Reproductive Health Act ensures that women’s rights in Illinois do not hinge on the fate of Roe v. Wade or the whims of an increasingly conservative [U.S.] Supreme Court in Washington.”
Abortion is now a fundamental right in Illinois. Opponents of the Reproductive Health Act have said it repeals a number of safety prohibitions and regulations that put mothers and fetuses at risk. Abortion rights supporters celebrated the new law Wednesday, but said there’s still more work to do.
During floor debate before the bill passed last month, state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, who’s weeks away from giving birth, led the opposition. She said in a statement Wednesday that the measure was a “massive expansion of late-term abortions.”
Proponents have said that’s not true and the law codifies existing practices. But Bourne said the bill removes any rights for fetuses, which is “out of step with the beliefs of a majority of Illinoisans.”
“This extreme legislation repeals a number of important safety prohibitions and regulations, putting mother and viable unborn babies at risk,” Bourne said in the statement. “The bill further removes any rights for unborn babies and establishes abortion as a fundamental right.”
“Proponents of this bill dishonestly sold this bill as a way to keep abortions legal in Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned, however, this legislation does so much more than that,” Bourne said. “Illinois is now one of the most radical states for abortion access. Today is a win for the abortion industry, and a devastating loss for Illinois and the rights of all unborn babies.”
Personal PAC Board President Melissa Widen said there’s more work to do in Illinois to protect abortion rights
“As a mother, I am very grateful that my two teenage daughters live in a state that recognizes and respects their rights to make decisions about their bodies,” Widen said. “And now I look forward to working with the governor and pro-choice leaders in the Senate and the House and that’s to repeal the dangerous parental notice of abortion law.”
A bill to repeal the state's parental notice requirement, Senate Bill 1594, remains in a Senate committee.
The new law changes some of the reporting standards for abortion procedures. Illinois Department of Human Services spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said the department "is working to implement the Reproductive Health Act and identify what changes to data collection will need to be made."