Illinois Lawmakers Move Forward With Nation’s Most Liberal Abortion Legislation

While some states are seeking to limit abortion — especially after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — Illinois lawmakers are moving forward with a bill to allow abortion right up until the day the baby is due to be delivered.

In a late-night vote Sunday, An Illinois House committee approved the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) in a straight party-line vote. The bill would remove all abortion restrictions in Illinois, repealing both the state’s Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975. Under the bill, all restrictions on abortions later in pregnancy would be removed, as would any criminal penalties for doctors who perform them.

In addition, the bill would mandate that insurance companies need to cover the cost of abortions.

“RHA codifies our existing practices and, and this is critical, treats abortion care just like any other health care, because it is,” said state representative and bill author Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), according to ABC-7 in Chicago.

“Make no mistake, it doesn’t end here. Since Roe was decided in 1973, our opponents have fought to impede access to care and these efforts have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable population,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy sponsored a bill that if passed would be the most liberal reproductive health care measure in the country. But opponents say the bill was rushed, leaving them little time for debate.

“This is new language. It strips completely any rights of state to protect the rights of the unborn,” said Zach Wichmann, director of government relations for the Catholic Conference of Illinois.

Religious organizations, including Catholic churches have already begun to mobilize their base, asking congregants to reach out to lawmakers.

“We need to pray for them so they will be filled with the Holy Spirit so they can make the right decision,” said Holy Name parishioner Liji George.

The bill says “Every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion, and to make autonomous decisions about how to
exercise that right. A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State.”

The measure follows legislation in other states to tighten abortion laws. Alabama has approved a new law that makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in most cases and Georgia passed the “heartbeat bill” that prohibits bans abortion after doctors detect a heartbeat in a fetus. In the latter law, doctors would face criminal prosecution.