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Senate passes Reproductive Health Act in Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker released a statement late Friday praising the Senate’s passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which he said makes good on his promise to make Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for women’s reproductive rights.

“Illinois is making history, because our state will now be the most progressive in the nation for reproductive healthcare. In Illinois, we trust women to make the most personal and fundamental decisions of their lives – and now, that will be the law of the land, even as it’s under threat in other states. This progress is only possible thanks to the fierce advocacy of leaders like Representative Kelly Cassidy, Senator Melinda Bush and countless advocates and groups around the state, and I look forward to joining them to sign this bill.”

Senate Bill 25 passed both chambers of the General Assembly this week.

Jennifer Welch, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, expressed pride in the legislation.

“A coalition of organizations and activists have been working on this bill for a very long time,” she said in a statement. “I am so proud of the work Planned Parenthood and many others have done in Illinois. We are confident that Governor Pritzker will follow through with his promise to make Illinois ‘the most progressive state in the country on reproductive rights’ and sign the Reproductive Health Act into law.”

The Reproductive Health Act does the following:

  • restricts the satate’s ability to deny a person’s reproductive healthcare decision,
  • repeals felony and disciplinary penalties imposed on doctors offering abortions,
  • prohibits a husband from obtaining an injunction to prevent his wife from having an abortion,
  • permits burial or cremation after a miscarriage or abortion, and
  • requires insurance companies to cover abortions.

Senate Bill 25 was drafted in response to 20 cases awaiting a hearing before the Supreme Court that aim to weaken or overrule Roe v. Wade. Those cases could be heard during the court’s next term, which begins on Oct. 7.

The legislation now heads to the governor for final approval.

“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,” said state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, chief sponsor of Senate Bill 25. “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 Reproductive Health Act provides a critical update and modernization to Illinois’ outdated law, she said. It codifies regulations that reflect current standards of medical practice and repeals state laws that are not in effect and not enforced because of court rulings.

“Women across the country are seeing their rights taken away,” Bush said. “To them we say, ‘You will not be discriminated against here. You have rights here. We respect your right to make decisions about your body here.’”


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