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Tipsheet

Illinois Dems Pushing Bill to Legalize Partial Birth Abortion

AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

Democrats in Illinois are pushing an abortion bill that, if passed, would be the most extreme in the United States.

The Reproductive Health Act would remove abortion restrictions in the state, repealing Illinois’s Partial Birth Abortion Ban and the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975. It would allow abortions late in a pregnancy and remove any criminal penalties against doctors who perform them. Additionally, RHA would expand insurance coverage of abortion and contraception. 

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The bill's text completely dehumanizes babies, noting that "a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State."

The measure had been sitting for months but with anti-abortion legislation passing in Ohio, Alabama, Missouri and Georgia, Democrats breathed new life into the bill last week, with House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, saying the legislation would get a second shot. 

Sponsor Kelly Cassidy, a Democratic representative from Chicago, injected the language of her original legislation, House Bill 2495, into a new measure, Senate Bill 25, on Sunday in a move referred to in the Statehouse as a “gut and replace.” It passed a committee hearing that night by a party-line vote after about two hours of contentious debate.

“I know we’re close on votes,” state Sen. Melinda Bush, a Democrat from Grayslake, said Monday evening. She is the sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act in the Senate.

“Gov. (J.B.) Pritzker was clear when he ran for office that he wanted to see Illinois move forward. Obviously he’s going to sign the bill,” she added. “I believe we have the votes in the Senate — we’re just waiting for the House to send it over.”

The Democratic governor has vowed to “make Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for access to reproductive health care.”

In an emailed statement Sunday night, his spokesperson said, “the governor is a lifelong advocate for a woman’s right to choose,” particularly in light of the “recent attacks on access to reproductive health care across the country.” (Chicago Sun Times)

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The Illinois Family Institute noted that the bill was posted and scheduled with such little time for consideration that opponents were left scrambling to fight back. But somehow Democrats were fully prepared, the Institute said. 

"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, reports ABC7. 

The bill could be called for a vote in the House as early as Tuesday.

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