Illinois House lawmakers are rushing through a controversial pro-abortion bill that would legalize abortions for basically any reason up to birth.
The Reproductive Health Act passed a House committee late Sunday night in a party-line vote, according to the Huffington Post. The full state House may vote on the legislation Tuesday.
“They are trying to ram this dangerous legislation through, over Memorial Day weekend, without you knowing,” Illinois Right to Life warned in an email to supporters Monday.
The legislation prompted massive protests earlier this year. In March, so many pro-life advocates filled the capitol to rally against the bill that police had to close the building due to overcrowding. Since then, state lawmakers have been sitting on the legislation.
But last week, pro-lifers learned that pro-abortion Democrats planned to push through the bill before the end of the legislative session.
According to the report, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy “gutted and replaced” Senate Bill 25 by taking provisions from her controversial Reproductive Health Act and putting them in a new bill. That bill passed the committee after a lengthy debate Sunday night.
The Thomas More Society described the bill as “the most radical piece of abortion legislation that has ever been introduced in Illinois.” If it passes, it would create a “fundamental right” to abortion and prevent the state from interfering in any way with the killing of unborn babies. It would erase criminal penalties for performing abortions and allow non-doctors to do them. The legislation also would repeal the partial-birth abortion ban, abortion clinic regulations and conscience protections for medical workers.
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In addition, it would require every health insurance plan to cover abortions, including late-term abortions, without any exemptions for people with religious or moral objections.
“This bill remains the most radically pro-abortion measure of its kind and would make Illinois an abortion destination for the country,” said Peter Breen, a former Illinois representative and Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel.
He said the newly amended bill is even more “barbarous” than the original bill because it does not really limit late-term abortions. It defines “viability” to exclude many babies who now can survive prematurely and “health” exceptions for late-term abortions to include basically anything, Breen said.
“This bill creates a ‘fundamental right’ for abortion, with the strongest protections in law, above even the First Amendment right to Free Speech,” he said. “Abortion would become the primary and principal right in Illinois, above all others.”
A second bill would repeal the state parental notification law, which requires underage girls to inform at least one parent before she has an abortion.
Democrats control both state houses, and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker likely will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
“The governor is a lifelong advocate for a women’s right to choose and with recent attacks on access to reproductive health care across the country, the governor applauds the House for taking an important step toward sending him a bill that will protect women’s rights in Illinois,” a spokesperson for the governor told the Sun-Times on Sunday.
But pro-life leaders are not giving up. Illinois Right to Life is urging people to call their state lawmakers and House Speaker Michael Madigan.
“This may be our last chance to have our voices heard,” the pro-life group said.
ACTION ALERT: Call and email your state representatives immediately. Please call them at their Springfield offices, and urge them to vote NO on SB 25. Find your representative and their district office numbers here. Find your representative’s Springfield office number on the ILGA website here. Call Speaker Michael Madigan and urge him to STOP the vote on SB 25. Call him at 217-782-5350.