Democrats in the Illinois House have introduced legislation to remove restrictions on late-term abortions and parental notification requirements in cases involving minors.
The “Reproductive Health Act” would repeal the state’s ban on partial-birth abortion. It also would require private insurance plans to cover abortion procedures in the same way as contraception and maternity care, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Additionally, the bill would allow advanced-practice nurses to perform abortions.
The legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, said in a news release that she has been a “longtime supporter of full access to reproductive care” and wants to see Illinois’ abortion laws updated to reflect the “equality of women.”
According to The Federalist, “The main thrust of the bill can be summed up in this one-liner: ‘A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State.’”
A second bill would repeal Illinois’ parental notice law.
“Illinois law currently mandates that minors notify a parent, grandparent, a stepparent who lives in the home or a legal guardian before having an abortion,” the Tribune reported.
“A minor has the legal right to request a waiver of parental notice, a process called judicial bypass, which is granted if a judge deems the minor mature and well-informed, or finds that notification wouldn’t be in her best interest.”
Abortion rights advocates have argued the parental notification requirement places an unfair burden on minors seeking an abortion who come from difficult or abusive home environments.
Illinois Right to Life Executive Director Mary Kate Knorr called both pieces of legislation “very extreme.”
Knorr argued repealing the parental notification requirement would be “irresponsible.”
“This parental notification law is absolutely necessary,” she said, according to the Tribune. “There are women who are in abuse situations and are being trafficked that this law protects. This parental notification law is a checkpoint for abuse and human trafficking situations.”
The Federalist reported that both pieces of legislation are quickly making their way through the Illinois House.
Both are listed to be up for discussion in a Human Services Committee hearing slated for Wednesday, with a deadline to pass them out of committee for consideration by the full House by March 29.
Therefore, the window to oppose the legislation on the House side is very short.
On the Senate side, the bills are not moving as fast.
On the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide in January, then newly sworn-in Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker pledged to make Illinois “the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to standing up for women’s reproductive rights.”
Today, on the 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I’m proud to declare under my administration, the State of Illinois will be the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to guaranteeing women’s reproductive rights. pic.twitter.com/AVrtl7KV4I
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) January 22, 2019
The legislative moves in Illinois come as Democratic governors and state legislators have brought the issue of late-term abortion to the fore, proposing and in some cases passing new laws that remove protections for the unborn.
On the anniversary of Roe, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed his state’s “Reproductive Health Act” into law.
The legislation permits abortions up to the time of birth for the broadly termed “health” of the mother and revokes the requirement for medical care for babies born alive after a failed abortion, according to the Liberty Counsel.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam managed to make headlines while advocating for similar legislation regarding late-term abortion in his state, which ultimately was narrowly defeated by the legislature.
Northam said if a baby were born alive under the provisions of the proposed law, “the infant would be kept comfortable” while a discussion ensued between the mother and her physicians about whether to keep the child alive.
In response, President Donald Trump called for a federal ban on late-term abortions during his State of the Union address last month.
“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” he said.
“Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” the president said. “And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”
Consistent with that call, GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska introduced the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act,” which Democrats successfully blocked last week.
All the prominent 2020 Democratic hopefuls in the Senate voted against the measure, including Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
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