Democratic lawmakers aim to update current reproductive health laws in Illinois


Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/TNS

An examination room at Whole Woman’s Health of Peoria. Democratic lawmakers are pushing to update current Illinois laws regarding reproductive health.

Julia Esparza, City Editor

State Democratic leaders joined together Wednesday in calling for the revival of the Reproductive Health Act amid other states’ efforts to restrict access to abortion.

The legislation aims to amend current Illinois reproductive health laws that impose criminal penalties for performing an abortion. Though the law – The Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 – is unenforceable, opponents are pushing to update the legal code to reflect the current environment.

The provisions in the bill aim to respect personal choices regarding reproductive rights, “including the right to choose or refuse birth control, the right to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth, and the right to choose or refuse abortion.”

Also included in the bill is a provision that would require private health insurance plans in Illinois to cover abortion.

The bill has been sitting in the state legislature since February. The proposal is sponsored by State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) in the House and State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) in the Senate.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signalled that he would approve the bill if it came to his desk. He said he wants to “make Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for access to reproductive health care.”

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