Women's Health

  • gillespie rptr 010919SPRINGFIELD – On the anniversary of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, State Senator Ann Gillespie is urging Illinois women to continue fighting to protect their health care from government intrusion.

    “Women’s rights – specifically the right to make our own health care decisions – are under assault every day,” said Gillespie, an Arlington Heights Democrat. “Although Illinois has taken dramatic steps to protect women’s reproductive decisions, it is clear to me that we can never stand down in our fight for fairness and autonomy.”

    Gillespie praised Gov. JB Pritzker for issuing an executive order today enforcing House Bill 40, which protects a woman’s right to choose in Illinois.

    The 2017 law removes the “trigger” provision from a 1975 Illinois law that would reinstate previous state policy banning abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally the law allows abortion coverage for individuals on Medicaid or covered by State Employee Health Insurance plans.

    Prtizker’s order directs the Department of Central Management Services to ensure all state employee health benefit plans include that coverage by July 1, 2019.

    “This matter was settled by the highest court in the nation. Yet here we are, nearly 50 years later, rehashing whether women should have control over their own health care,” Gillespie said. “It’s troubling to me, and I urge women and men everywhere to continue fighting for rights that shouldn’t even be up for debate.”

  • villivalam 011819SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam issued the following statement regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive order calling for the enforcement of House Bill 40.

    “I applaud Gov. Pritzker’s continued support of a woman’s right to choose,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “We need to ensure legislation is actually working once it is signed, and this executive order will do just that. I look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and members of the Illinois General Assembly in taking the next steps to further protect and advance women's rights.”

    Executive Order 2019-05 calls for a Department of Central Management Services review of the coverage in all state employee health insurance, then submitting a report to the governor detailing the coverage for abortion in each plan, specifically identifying where coverage is restrictive.

  • castro 050918 2ELGIN – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is praising Gov. JB Pritzker’s move to ensure that women can exercise their right to choose, regardless of their income level or place of employment.

    On Tuesday, Pritzker issued an executive order to enforce House Bill 40, which requires abortion coverage for individuals on Medicaid or covered by state employee health insurance plans.

    “It is necessary to ensure Illinois women continue to have the right to choose whether or not to move forward with a pregnancy,” Castro said. “These types of decisions should be between a woman, her family and her doctor. I am happy that Illinois is a state that continues to move forward and remains a safe place for women to legally exercise their right to make their own health care choices.”

  • steans 022818CHICAGO – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker issued an executive order enforcing House Bill 40, which protects a woman’s right to choose in Illinois.

    “Every woman should be able to make her own reproductive health decisions, regardless of her employment or income level,” Steans said. “We fought hard to pass legislation protecting this right, and I am glad we have a governor ready to enforce it.”

  • harmon 053118CHICAGO – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order ensuring that House Bill 40, which protects a woman’s right to choose in Illinois, will be enforced:

    “I am thankful that, after years of hard work by advocates on this issue, we passed House Bill 40 and took what should have been an obvious stance: that women are capable of making their own decisions about their reproductive health.

    “And today we affirm that those decisions should not be limited by income level or place of employment. With women’s reproductive rights under constant assault at the federal level, I am thankful we have a governor ready to actively defend them in Illinois.”

  • hunter 052517SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect women’s healthcare, economic security and justice, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) passed legislation that would make all feminine hygiene products free at school for students grades 6-12.

    “One of the reasons girls miss many days of school is because they do not have access to these products,” said Hunter. “Young women do not plan on having a menstrual cycle, it’s something that just happens. It’s an absolute necessity to supply our younger women with the resources they need.”

    House Bill 3215 is an initiative of “Illinois Moving Women Forward” a group that aims to remove gender inequalities in order to help women achieve their full potential. Of their three principles, the group’s main focus is to protect and improve the access to affordable healthcare for women.

    “This is not only about personal hygiene but about dignity as well,” Hunter said. “Our younger women deserve to be taken care of and we as a state can do so at a small expense.”

    The legislation passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Saying the governor needs time to reconsider his pledge to veto House Bill 40, legislation that protects women’s reproductive rights in Illinois, Senator Don Harmon Wednesday night slowed the bill’s trek to the governor’s desk.

    “This measure is too important to immediately put it in the hands of a governor whose public opinions about women’s access to safe, affordable reproductive health care have been inconsistent at best,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate.

    Harmon is the chief co-sponsor of House Bill 40. Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, is the lead sponsor. Gov. Bruce Rauner has threatened to veto the measure, even though he pledged to support it when he was a candidate for governor.

    “Wednesday night, in consultation with Senator Steans and the advocates, I filed a motion to reconsider the Senate’s vote to pass House Bill 40, which means we will temporarily hold the bill in the Senate,” Harmon said. “This motion merely allows the Senate to protect the bill from Gov. Rauner’s threatened veto until he comes to his senses. It does not jeopardize the bill’s ability to become law.”

  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today regarding his vote in support of House Bill 40, legislation that would ensure women in Illinois continue to have access to important reproductive health care:

    “It’s 2017. Women make up just over half of the population in Illinois, and 70 percent of them are in the labor force,” Harmon said.

    “But today, rather than paving the way to lift women out of poverty, close the gender wage gap, make child care more affordable or enable all parents to take time off to care for sick kids, the Illinois Senate had to debate whether it’s appropriate to reassure the women who live and work in our communities that they are legally entitled to access the medical care of their choosing without government interference.

    “How 1960s of us.

  • Sen. Daniel BissSPRINGFIELD – Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement today regarding his vote in support of House Bill 40, legislation that ensures women in Illinois continue to have access to important reproductive health care:

    “Consider what we know about how President Trump sees America. We know he has objectionable views on women’s autonomy, and we know his administration has been surprisingly eager to scale back laws supporting groups of people who fought hard to earn basic civil rights in the first place.

  • Sen. Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) voted today for a measure that would protect legal abortion in Illinois, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

    HB 40, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), removes the trigger language from a previous Illinois law that would outlaw abortion in the state if the landmark case were overturned. It also allows Medicaid and state employee health plans to cover legal abortions.

    “A woman’s right to choose is under attack at a federal level and in many states,” Martinez said. “I am proud that we in Illinois are committed to keeping the government out of a decision that should be solely up to the woman. I hope Governor Rauner lives up to his promise and signs this legislation.”

    HB 40 passed the House 62-55 in last month. It passed the Senate 33-22 today and will move to the governor’s desk. Governor Rauner said in 2014 that he would sign the bill if it passed, then went back on that statement earlier this year, saying he would veto it.

  • Sen. Omar AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, released the following statement after the passage of House Bill 40, which would preserve access to abortion for Illinois women:

    “Given what is happening at the federal level, it is extremely important that we protect a woman’s right to choose in Illinois. It falls on us in state government to act responsibly in times like these, as women in general and low-income women in particular have serious concerns about their healthcare due to the disastrous agendas of the Trump and Rauner administrations.”

  • Sen. Heather Steans

    SPRINGFIELD – Recent rollbacks to women’s rights led State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) to sponsor House Bill 40 to ensure that Illinois will remain a state where women can safely and legally exercise their right to choose.

    “I think it is paramount that we protect a woman’s right to choose and ensure that Illinois will be a state where women can safely and legally exercise this right, regardless of what happens at the federal level,” Steans said. “Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for more than 40 years. Due to a trigger in Illinois law, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, Illinois would return to a state where abortion was illegal. I believe we should uphold the intention of the justices that ruled in favor of a woman’s right to choose and cement this freedom to choose in Illinois law.”

    House Bill 40 removes the "trigger" provision from a 1975 Illinois law that would reinstate previous state policy banning abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally the legislation will allow abortion coverage for individuals on Medicaid or covered by State Employee Health Insurance plans.

    “Women should have access to safe abortion services regardless of their income or employer,” Steans said. “This is a decision between a woman and her doctor. Illinois has antiquated laws on the books that impose religious principles on individuals that may not ascribe to those beliefs. This legislation updates those laws and protects access to safe and legal abortion services.”

    Abortion rates have been falling over the past 40 years and are lower now than when Roe v. Wade was ruled.

    “I hope that Gov. Rauner will stick to his word and sign HB 40,” Steans said.

    State Senator Linda Holmes (D - Aurora):

     State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D - Chicago Heights):

  • Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate voted Wednesday to ensure women in Illinois will continue to safely and legally exercise their right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

    House Bill 40 removes the "trigger" provision from a 1975 Illinois law that would reinstate a previous state policy banning abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, the legislation would allow abortion coverage for individuals on Medicaid or covered by State Employee Health Insurance plans.

    State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), a chief co-sponsor of the measure, stated Wednesday that it is absolutely necessary to ensure Illinois women continue to have the right to choose to move forward with a pregnancy.

    “These types of decisions should be between a woman and her doctor,” Castro said. “We need to make sure women have a safe place to legally exercise this right. Illinois should be a state that continues to move forward and helps to preserve the rights of women. Should the federal courts overturn Roe V. Wade, it would mean overturning 40 years of progress for civil rights. Today I voted to safeguard those rights. I urge the governor to sign this legislation into law.”

    House Bill 40 passed the Senate Wednesday and will be sent to the governor for approval.

  • HIV testingSPRINGFIELD – Yesterday, legislation intended to offer additional HIV testing for at risk pregnant woman in their third trimester passed an important Senate committee. House Bill 2800 equips pregnant women with the another opportunity to know their HIV status during the prenatal stage to make informed decisions that will benefit them and in return reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

    This crucial measure adds on to the Perinatal HIV Prevention Act by furthering efforts to provide vital information to pregnant at risk women. State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), answered the call to push for increased HIV testing opportunities among disadvantaged pregnant women to increase awareness:

    “This is a significant piece of legislation that passed out of the Public Health Committee. It is vital that we increase HIV testing for at-risk pregnant woman in their third trimester as opposed to only testing in the first trimester to prevent the spread of disease. Too often we see the need to do more good in improvised communities as far as HIV testing is concerned and we ignore it, but no more. By offering additional prenatal testing, we decrease the chance of transmission to the infant.”

  • steans ppSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on President Trump signing legislation to allow states to withhold federal funds from organizations that offer abortion services:

    Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from supporting abortion services. By allowing states to withhold federal funds from organizations like Planned Parenthood that offer abortion services, President Trump will allow states to defund preventative care for women. It’s time to call this action what it is: an affront to women.

    Preventative women’s health services benefit everyone, not just women. Without the services offered by organizations like Planned Parenthood, many low-income and working class women may no longer receive cancer screenings, pregnancy care and testing for sexually transmitted infections. This would have a ripple effect through our communities.

    This action reinforces the need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and ensure that women can no longer be discriminated on the basis of their sex. I will not be complicit to the Executive branch’s agenda. It’s time for Illinois to formally recognize that women have equal rights to men and bring our nation one step closer to ratifying the 28th Amendment.