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Bush measure guaranteeing women’s reproductive health rights passes senate

bush 053119 2SPRINGFIELD – The Reproductive Health Act, which repeals outdated abortion laws that have been blocked by the courts and ensures that reproductive health care is treated like all other health care and not as a crime, passed out of the Illinois Senate today.

“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 Senator 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The Reproductive Health Act provides a critical update and modernization to Illinois’ outdated law. 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.’”

The Reproductive Health Act:

  • repeals felony penalties imposed on doctors for offering abortion care and some contraceptives
  • removes the requirement that a married woman be required to get her husband’s consent to an abortion
  • lifts disciplinary penalties adopted decades ago aimed solely at physicians who perform abortions
  • protects assisted reproductive techniques like in-vitro fertilization
  • treats the cost of abortion like all other medical expenses
  • requires insurance companies (not multi-state plans) to provide coverage for abortions without cost-sharing requirements

The legislation now heads to the governor for final approval. Senate Democrats released the following statements in response to the bill’s passage:

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood): “Women across the country are living in fear that their rights to reproductive healthcare will be stripped away. As for Illinois, we are standing up to protect our women and families at a time when the White House has no interest in the wellbeing of women.”

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago): “We are sending a strong message to all women in Illinois today that we trust them to make their own decisions about their bodies. Women’s reproductive rights are under attack, with multiple states passing laws intended to trigger the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Illinois must remain committed to being a safe state where women, along with their doctors, can make the health care decisions that are best for them.”

State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd): “As the unprecedented assault on women’s rights continues, I am relieved that here in Illinois we are sending a clear message that we are committed to respecting women’s fundamental right to have autonomy over their bodies, agency over their lives and protecting access to a full range of reproductive health care for all.”

woman w doctor 053119State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin): “It is a woman’s fundamental right to accessible and safe reproductive health care. By passing the Reproductive Health Care Act, Illinois is taking a strong and clear stance against the threat women are facing in our country. I am proud to support this measure that will ensure that if Roe v. Wade does get overturned, women in Illinois will maintain the fundamental right to all forms of reproductive health care.”

State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview): “These are personal decisions that need to be made between a woman and her doctor. As a legislator and as a woman, I believe that reproductive rights are human rights and that it is our duty to defend those rights. I’m proud to have been a part of passing this important legislation.”

State Senator Suzy Glowiak (D-Western Springs): “It has been shocking to watch states across the nation attack women’s rights to make their own health decisions. These dangerous political agendas are hindering our civil liberties and limiting access to lifesaving medical care. It’s essential that Illinois remain a leader in the fight to defend women.”

State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines): “This bill will ensure women in Illinois have the opportunity to make their own healthcare choices. This measure codifies existing Illinois laws and ensures the fundamental right of women to make their own health care decisions. We have seen recent attacks on women throughout the country regarding our health care and body autonomy. Regardless of what happens at the federal level, women in Illinois will be protected.”

State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago): “I am always proud to be an Illinoisan, but especially today. Today we sent a strong message to the entire country, most notably women, that we trust them to have agency of their own bodies. Access to quality reproductive health care is under attack in this country, and I could not stand by as women’s freedom and fundamental right to choose hang in the balance. I need not be a woman to understand the fight for justice and equality and how crucial it is to deem these attacks unacceptable.”

State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago): “Over the past few weeks, we have seen unprecedented attacks on reproductive health rights from several states across the country. These attacks are targeted and regressive, meant to secure patriarchal power against women, queer folks, and people of color. These states are sending a clear message that the health of women, trans men, non-binary people, or anyone whose health relies on the safeguarding of reproductive rights, does not matter to them. I’m proud to have stood with my colleagues in the Senate today to declare that Illinois does not share that belief.”

State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago): “In the wake of the appalling anti-choice legislation that has been enacted in other states in the past month, I’m proud to support legislation that codifies a woman’s right to choose. The Reproductive Health Act is a major win in defending this right at a time when Roe v. Wade is under attack in our country. We’re sending a major message that we’re committed to protecting reproductive rights in Illinois and that the government has no business telling a woman what she can or can’t do with her body.”