By Caleb Parke
Published June 12, 2019
Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law Wednesday establishing a woman's "fundament right" to abortion, keeping a campaign promise to make the state the most progressive in the country when it comes to abortion rights.
"Today we proudly proclaim that in this state, we trust women," Pritzker said at the Reproductive Health Act signing event at the Chicago Cultural Center. "And in Illinois, we guarantee as a fundamental right a woman's right to choose."
Pro-life groups have pointed out Illinois' law goes further than the one in New York, which prompted a series of states to pass anti-abortion bills, several "heartbeat" abortion bans, and ignited a battle across the nation should Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states, be overturned by the Supreme Court with two Trump appointees now on the bench.
The bill, effectively immediately, repeals a 1975 Illinois abortion law. It eliminates spousal consent, waiting periods, criminal penalties for abortion providers and restrictions on abortion facilities, such as licensing requirements and health and safety inspections. It also repealed the state's Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act and establishes "that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law, of this State."
The Thomas More Society, a pro-life law firm based in Chicago, declared the bill tantamount to “legalizing the death penalty, with no possibility of appeal, for viable unborn preemies.”
Former Illinois state representative and Thomas More Society Vice President Peter Breen slammed the measure as "the most radical sweeping pro-abortion measure in America and makes Illinois an abortion destination for the country," protecting abortion to a greater degree than Free Speech and other First Amendment rights.
Following the Senate and House passing the bill, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, which includes the state's capital, decreed that lawmakers who supported the "extreme, abominable" abortion bill will be banned from partaking communion.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and state Senate President John Cullerton, both Catholics who pushed for the bill, were among the lawmakers who were barred from receiving communion.