Illinois House Passes Progressive Abortion Rights Bill

June 01, 2019 - 11:26 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Reproductive Health Act, an abortion rights bill establishing a fundamental right for women to get an abortion, passed the Illinois Senate in a 34-20 vote early Saturday morning and will now head to Gov. Pritzker's desk. 

He is expected to sign the progressive bill, making Illinois one of the most accessible and welcoming states for women's reproductive health.

The heated debate had both sides of senators pegged against the issue, but ultimately, it passed and some women senators embraced at the news. 

Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) strgonly opposed the abortion measure, saying late-term abotion is not a medical procedure.

“This is not about keeping abortion legal, it’s about radically expanding what is allowed under the law," Rezin said.

Arguing against Rezin, sponsoring Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) said no doctor would terminate a late pregnancy unless the women's health is at risk.

"There is no doctor that would abort a healthy baby in late term unless it was for the health of the woman — a dire situation and in a place none of us ever, ever hope to find ourselves in," Bush said. 

With support from Planned Parenthood and the state Democrats, Bush said the bill represents progress and access to healthcare for all women.

"What we're trying to make sure is that the RHA treats abortion like any other health care," she said.

State Sen. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) is a also sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act and said people who are against abortion should be for social programs that help expectant mothers and young families. 

"I believe in the sanctity of life, an entire life," Sims said during the debate. When I think of someone pro-life, it means supporting an individual, having a life filled with immense possibility that god intended for them, not one who is subjected to the hollow talking pont that the market should decide the height and ark of one's life accomplishments."

Even though the sentiment was largely in support of the bill, other groups took opposition to it. Illinois' Catholic bishops called on state senators to reject the bill, saying the bill strips unborn babies a right to life. 

"We appreciate the complex and difficult challenges facing women who have unplanned pregnancies or who carry babies destined to have short or difficult lives," the bishops' statement read. "They deserve all the support society can give them. But to deny that the lives growing within these women is anything other than human or that they would, in the vast majority of cases, develop into healthy children is simply to deny reality."

Upon the bill's passing, Cardinal Blase Cupich called it a sad moment in history.