CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday has signed legislation making Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for women’s reproductive rights.
Before signing the Reproductive Health Act, which states women have the “fundamental right” to have an abortion, the governor stressed that abortion bans endanger women. His message is that women in Illinois will have the right to choose.
The legislation repeals the state’s partial birth abortion ban, which puts restrictions on abortions at 20 weeks or later, and the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, which provides criminal penalties for doctors performing abortions. Both those laws already have been blocked by court orders.
The measure also would require private health insurance plans to cover abortions and related care.
The legislation comes at a time when many states are passing sweeping abortion bans. Pritzker mentioned states like Georgia and Missouri, which recently have passed severe restrictions on abortions.
The governor said if the Supreme Court’s historic Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion nationwide were reversed today, Illinois would remain a state that supports women’s reproductive rights.
“We proudly proclaim that in this state, we trust women,” Pritzker said.
The fact the Illinois law will expand abortion access has angered some groups; some so much so that Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki banned House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from receiving communion.
“For a Catholic to say that they are pro-choice or promoting abortion, I would hope that they would recognize that that position is inconsistent with being a good Catholic, a faithful Catholic. This has been a teaching of the Catholic Church for 2,000 years,” Paprocki said.
Republicans have spoken up against provisions allowing late-term abortions.
“This is an expansion of abortion unlike the states around us, and I think certainly makes us an outlier in the country,” said Rep. Avery Bourne. (R-Raymond)
On the other hand, Democrats have said it’s about giving women the right to choose.
“With the signing of this bill, we are building a firewall around Illinois to protect access to reproductive health care for everyone,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).
Pritzker added, with the new law in place, Illinois also will help women from other states – refugees, as he called them – in need of reproductive health care.