Governor JB Pritzker stands with other pro-choice Democrats at a press conference to denounce the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and turning the issue of abortion access back to the states. --Screenshot of a live-streamed event

Governor JB Pritzker stands with other pro-choice Democrats at a press conference to denounce the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and turning the issue of abortion access back to the states. --Screenshot of a live-streamed event

Abortion protected in Illinois

Spread the love

Lawmakers react to draft Supreme Court opinion

By Grace Kinnicutt
Capitol News Illinois

and Tim Hadac

Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Democrats have warned of an “end to the constitutional right to privacy” if a leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade becomes finalized as precedent.

“It means women who lose access to the full suite of medical advances that give them choices in how and when they want to start a family are at risk,” Pritzker said at a morning news conference in Chicago last week.

At the same time, however, the Democrats touted a recent string of Illinois laws aimed at protecting the access to an abortion for Illinoisans and those visiting the state to receive reproductive health care.

CRRNH AbortionStoryPix 051122

Governor JB Pritzker stands with other pro-choice Democrats at a press conference to denounce the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and turning the issue of abortion access back to the states. –Screenshot of a live-streamed event

In fact, the state could become a “medical tourism” destination for pregnant women from states that may outlaw abortion—in the same way that uninsured Americans often head to Mexico for affordable dental care and other procedures.

The news conference was called in response to a May 2 report from Politico that outlined the leaked draft decision that would strike down Roe v. Wade, a decision which has protected abortion rights as constitutional rights for nearly five decades.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the draft majority opinion that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and the issue of regulating abortion must be returned to the states.

Pritzker said that if the ruling stands as a reversal of 50 years of settled law, the implications on privacy and health care access could be dire.

“It’s not just that they’re taking away reproductive rights,” he said. “It’s that this is a slope that they’re headed down that is going to take away all of the rights that were granted as a result of the right to privacy. It’s a constitutional right to privacy, determined by the court 50 years ago and reinforced along the way, and now they’re taking it away.”

Advocates said overturning Roe would be devastating for millions who will be forced into unwanted pregnancies and that it will lead to illegal alternatives that could put the mother’s life at risk.

Southwest Side pols react

Several elected officials serving Clearing and Garfield Ridge also weighed in on the news.

U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-3rd) said the leaked news “was harrowing, but it is not going to stop me — or millions of women across our nation — from standing up for everyone’s fundamental freedom and right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. For the past three decades, I have been fighting to protect women’s reproductive rights and I’m damn well not going to stop now. Now is the time for real leaders with real experience to take charge.

“Make no mistake, this decision is and has always been the end goal — the party of “small government” has been hell-bent on controlling the bodies and personal health decisions of women for decades,” Newman continued. “It is an assault on our lives, our bodies and our freedoms. I do not care how unprecedented or inappropriate this leak is, what’s critical here is how we act. It is way past time for the Senate to codify Roe V. Wade. The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act earlier this year and now our senators have a fundamental obligation to get this done. There is no time to waste. Reform the filibuster and pass this bill immediately.”

State Senator Celina Villnueva (D-11th) said she “seethed with anger over the leaked majority opinion, and I am in fear of women’s safety and our future. This decision is a direct attack on the rights of women, which have been under assault for the majority of our nation’s history. A woman’s right to choose is fundamental, and to remove the protections set forth by the critical 1973 ruling is to create dangerous, undue burden for one of our most vulnerable populations.

“Removing this precedent would not stop people from seeking abortion, but it would make them far less safe for those who employ their inalienable bodily autonomy to decide the course of action that is best for them,” the senator continued. “I resent and reject the notion that forced birth does not amount to a violation of a person’s rights under the U.S. Constitution. This opinion will no doubt determine the trajectory of our nation and our states over the next few years. Choosing to abandon this federal protection of a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy will lead us down a dangerous path in which little by little our access to safe and supportive environments is removed until we reach a point of blatant inequality. I am infuriated at the constant exertion of power by officials who are so far removed from the lives of the people whose interests they claim to represent. They will not stop until they have total control over women and other marginalized communities, and that is disgusting, appalling and degenerate.”

State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. (D-21st) said, “If the fight over the past half century to protect Roe and Casey is any indication, there are tireless villains who will attack the right to choose, but there are even more vigorous heroes who’ll stop at nothing to protect it. The Supreme Court may stand today against reproductive justice, but here in Illinois we stand for it.”

State Rep. Angelica “Angie” Guerrero-Cuellar (D-22nd) said simply, “I am here and ready. We are here and ready to defend the rights of all women.”

A ‘forcefield’ of abortion protection

While Democrats said overturning Roe would mark a “dark day in our nation’s history,” they also credited their party for creating a “forcefield” to guarantee a women’s right to reproductive health care in Illinois.

In 2019, Pritzker signed the Reproductive Health Act, enshrining in state law the fundamental right to an abortion. In December 2021, he signed a law ending a requirement that doctors must notify parents of a minor seeking an abortion 48 hours prior to the procedure.

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, criticized Republicans for implying that “this wasn’t a serious matter” when they voted against abortion protections previously. Last week, he said the GOP was “eerily quiet” amid the major news.

While GOP statements to the media were sparse, some of the Republicans vying to unseat Pritzker spoke out on the issue.

GOP governor candidate and current State Senator Darren Bailey, of Xenia, said in statement that he is “proudly pro-life” and that if elected governor, he will promote policies and groups that would empower women with “real options.” While he didn’t directly comment on the draft opinion, he said he would try to scale back recent changes made by Democrats.

“As governor, my focus will be restoring parental notification, ending taxpayer-funded abortion, and prioritizing and ensuring viable options that save lives and support women and families before, during and after pregnancy,” Bailey said.

Bailey has received endorsements by the Illinois Federation for Right to Life, Illinois Citizens for Life and Illinois Family Action.

GOP governor candidate Jesse Sullivan said in a news release under the headline “prayer works” that he is “overjoyed at what could be a generational change in the soul of our country.”

He noted that with the Supreme Court decision putting power back in the hands of the state, it “threatens to make Illinois’s current abortion laws even more heinous” and called for the end of late-term, partial-birth abortions and rollbacks of recent Illinois laws.

Gary Rabine, another GOP governor candidate, also said he welcomes the court’s reversal.

Richard Irvin, the Aurora mayor who has received the financial backing of megadonor Ken Griffin, was not among those issuing a statement, with his campaign declining to do so until a final decision is rendered by the court. His running mate, State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, is one of the staunchest anti-abortion lawmakers in the General Assembly.

Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, said in a news release that the organization will focus on “restoring protection to the most vulnerable” and ensuring that mothers “have the resources they need to choose life as well as parent confidently.”

Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, released a statement saying that while this decision comes as no surprise, the organization will continue to fight so everyone can access the fundamental reproductive health care they need.

In January, a regional logistics center opened in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Fairview Heights to make abortion care more accessible. The center is operated by Planned Parenthood and the Granite City-based Hope Clinic for Women.

Private funds are used to pay for travel and lodging arrangements and connect patients with existing resources. There is no income or distance requirement to access RLC services.

Planned Parenthood projected that an additional 14,000 women from Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee would likely travel to southern Illinois for abortion care if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“We will fight like hell, not just for the women of Illinois, but for every person in our state and every person across this nation who believes not in limiting civil rights and human rights, but expanding them,” Pritzker said.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government that is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Local News

Brother Rice junior Gavin Arnold forces the ball over the net during a match against Richards on April 19. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Volleyball | Brother Rice falls to Glenbard West and York, takes 4th at Smack Attack

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent It was a busy weekend in the area for boys volleyball as Brother Rice hosted its 14th annual Smack Attack tournament. The 24-team event played April 19-20 featured area teams Brother Rice, Marist and Richards, along with defending Class 4A champion Glenbard West and two highly rated teams from…

Swanson scores, assists in Red Stars’ win over Reign

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Red Stars improved to 3-1-1 by beating the Seattle Reign, 2-1, on the road on April 21. Mallory Swanson had an assist on an Ali Schlegel goal in the fourth minute and added a goal of her own in the 31st minute. Swanson missed last season after sustaining a knee injury on…

Tatumn Milazzo, shown at media day before the season started, was amused by winning a Save of the Week award. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Tatumn Milazzo has top Save of the Week

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Tatumn Milazzo called her achievement “funny.” The Chicago Red Stars defender and Orland Park native was awarded the NWSL’s Save of the Week after chasing down a ball in a loss to Angel City on April 13. The Save of the Week usually goes to a goalie. Milazzo laughed…

A lone white volleyball sitting on a wooden floor

Men’s College Volleyball | Saint Xavier captures fifth straight conference tourney title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The SXU men’s volleyball team won its fifth straight Chicagoland Christian Athletic Conference tournament championship after a 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 sweep of Calumet College of St. Joseph on April 20 at the Shannon Center. Jan Lopuch had 10 kills and nine digs for the Cougars. With the win, the…

Baseball in a mitt with a black bat low angle selective focus view on a baseball field

College Baseball | Saint Xavier upsets Eastern Illinois

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Saint Xavier baseball team picked up a win that its players are going to remember for a long time. The Cougars stunned Eastern Illinois, 4-2, on April 17 in Charleston. It was the Cougars’ first win over the Panthers, a Division I program, since 2005. Lyons grad Troy…

A lone white volleyball sitting on a wooden floor

Boys Volleyball | Glenbard West tops Marist to stay unbeaten

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Marist boys volleyball team, ranked fifth in the nation by USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches, lost to Glenbard West, 25-23, 25-21, in the championship match at the Brother Rice Smack Attack on April 20 in Chicago. Glenbard West (19-0) is the two-time defending state champion and is ranked third…

Alliyah Flores and her St. Laurence teammates earned academic honors by the IBCA. Photo by Jeff Vorva

St. Laurence hoops teams top honor roll

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area basketball teams proved to be strong on the court and in the classroom this season, and St. Laurence was the leader of the pack. The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association compiled a list of the top academic teams, and the area did well. In Division 3 girls, St. Laurence…

St. Rita's David Lyle won honors from the Chicago Bears. St. Rita photo

Chicago Bears recognize St. Rita senior with All-Star award

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Chances are good that few outside of St. Rita football circles know who David Lyle is. With good reason. Lyle missed his senior season for the Mustangs last fall after sustaining a serious knee injury. He even postponed having knee surgery so that he could take care of his…

CRRNH_CosmoPhotoMDWArmory_032724

Pols want 63rd St. armory for new police HQ

Spread the love

Spread the love. Porfirio, Guerrero-Cuellar push plan in Springfield . By Tim Hadac Any plans the Chicago Department of Aviation may have had for the vacant Army National Guard Midway Armory, 5400 W. 63rd St., may be grounded, at least for now. Several elected officials are eyeing the parcel as the headquarters of a new…

CRRNH_OLS3rdGradersWinPizzaParty_042424

It’s (pizza) party time at OLS

Spread the love

Spread the love. Third graders at Our Lady of the Snows School break into cheers as they learn they’ve won a pizza party for selling more raffle booklets than any other class. The recent Grand Raffle fundraiser brought in about $6,000. Parents looking for a grade school for their sons and daughters for 2024-25 are…

Neighbors

Remembering Lee Milner

Remembering Lee Milner

NEWS TEAM Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com On Wednesday, April 17, the Springfield, Illinois Capitol and journalism communities lost a devoted friend and advocate when Lee Milner passed away. As Dean Olsen wrote in his piece in the Illinois Times earlier this month, “Readers of Illinois Times often have seen Milner’s work as a freelance photojournalist. But…

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois kangaroo owners are one step closer to being forced to surrender their marsupials this week after the House passed a bill criminalizing their possession. That was one of more than 300 bills to pass the House ahead of a Friday procedural deadline.…

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com With a month-and-a-half left in the General Assembly’s spring session, Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration is readying its proposal to address Illinois’ chronically underfunded pension system. But the governor this week also acknowledged in the strongest terms yet that any plans to finally get the state on track toward…

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker celebrated a partial legislative victory Thursday night when the House passed his initiative to end some practices health insurance companies use to control the amount and cost of health care services individual patients receive. The “Healthcare Protection Act,” House Bill 5395, cleared the…

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ largest cannabis business association is pushing to ban the sale of delta-8 THC, an increasingly popular psychoactive substance that’s popped up in corner stores across the country in recent years. New legislation filed in Springfield this week revives an ongoing debate over delta-8 and other…

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com Lead pipes in public water systems and drinking fixtures have been banned in new construction since 1986, when Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, but they are still in use across the U.S. and in Illinois.  The presence of lead pipes has persisted due in part to…

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

By ALEX ABBEDUTO HANNAH MEISEL & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency to oversee Illinois’ various early childhood programs moved forward on Friday after the state Senate’s unanimous approval. It was one of 244 bills that cleared the Senate this week. Early childhood…

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

By Jennifer Bamberg, Investigate Midwest Originally published April 10, 2024 During the 2023 harvest season, one of Jake Lieb’s tractors quit working. A week later, his combine stopped working, too. Both were new — and he was locked out from making any repairs himself because of software restrictions embedded in the machines.  Instead, a technician…

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

By JERRY NOWICKI & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Weeks after two high-profile resignations at the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday appointed the first-ever executive director to help lead the beleaguered agency. To fill the newly created position, the governor tapped Jim Montgomery, who most recently served as director of…

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Advocates for stricter gun laws rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday for a measure aimed at protecting domestic violence victims and two other criminal justice reforms. The bills are backed by organizations such as Moms Demand Action and One Aim Illinois among others. “These policies support…