The Illinois House of Representatives debated a bill on Memorial Day that would remove all restrictions to abortion, including the state’s ban on Partial Birth Abortion.
The legislation, known as the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), is among the most radical in the country, one that would allow abortions at any time during pregnancy, for any reason, and remove any penalties for abortionists.
If the bill were enacted, post-viability abortions would no longer be limited to cases in which the mother’s health is in danger, though that exception is often vague. Rather, any reason for wanting an abortion would become legal with the passage of the new bill.
Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society, said the bill is “the most radically pro-abortion measure of its kind and would make Illinois an abortion destination for the country.”
— Thomas More Society (@ThomasMoreSoc) May 28, 2019
Breen, a former Illiinois state representative, said an amendment filed on Sunday night radicalized the bill further:
The bill, as amended, would remove any penalty for performing late-term abortions, allow nurses to perform medication abortions, and eliminate licensing and health and safety inspections of abortion clinics. The bill would strip all rights from unborn children and wipe nearly every abortion regulation off the books in Illinois, subjecting any that remain to a court challenge under a near-impossible-to-meet “strict scrutiny” standard.
Breen said the amended bill creates a “fundamental right” to abortion. He observed the new “right” that would be created by the legislation would have “the strongest protections in law, above even the First Amendment right to free speech.”
“Abortion would become the primary and principal right in Illinois, above all others,” Breen warned.
Lawmakers who support the bill are minimizing its extreme nature, equating abortion with no limits whatsoever with “health care.”
“RHA codifies our existing practices and, and this is critical, treats abortion care just like any other health care, because it is,” said Democrat State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, reported ABC7.
— Rep. Kelly Cassidy (@RepKellyCassidy) May 24, 2019
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot applauded the legislators in committee who voted to approve the measure Sunday and send it on to the full State House.
“With the onslaught of attacks against reproductive rights happening all across the country, we must act to double down on protections here in Illinois,” she said. “The time is now to ensure that we preserve access to safe, legal abortion in our state. We won’t go backwards. The full General Assembly must act swiftly to pass the RHA.”
Are you wondering who is sponsoring the Reproductive Health Act and championing reproductive freedom in Illinois?
Meet @RepKellyCassidy, this is our shero. #PassTheRHA #twill
📷: @StateRepSara pic.twitter.com/P3Imi6zgMe
— Planned Parenthood (@PPIAction) May 27, 2019
However, Republican State Rep. Amy Grant posted to Facebook that the amendment filed on Sunday night created a “scene of a flagrant disregard for the public’s right to know about new legislation.”
“Language was stuffed into an existing bill and brought to a last-minute committee hearing at 7pm,” Grant said. “The supporters of SB 0025 feared the crowd that rallied in Springfield. Are we really going to hear this destructive bill on a day that is kept aside to honor our fallen heroes? This is disrespectful.”
Faith-based organizations said the amendment provides no protections at all for the unborn.
“This is new language,” said Zach Wichmann, director of government relations for the Catholic Conference of Illinois. “It strips completely any rights of state to protect the rights of the unborn.”
“The legacy of any legislator who votes for this bill will be that of cruel dehumanization on a mass scale,” Breen continued. “Those legislators will bear the legacy of thousands of late-term dismemberment abortions inflicted on perfectly healthy children. Those legislators will bear the legacy of harm done to those women who suffer from abortions performed in filthy unlicensed clinics.”