Illinois Senate passes abortion rights bill, sending measure to Democratic governor's desk

Illinois Senate passes abortion rights bill, sending measure to Democratic governor's desk
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The Illinois Senate late Friday night passed a bill that establishes a woman’s “fundamental right” to get an abortion, a measure that comes as other conservative states have passed restrictive abortion bans.

The chamber passed the abortion rights legislation shortly before midnight in a 34-20 vote, The Chicago Tribune reported.

The sweeping measure now heads to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) who has signaled support for the bill.

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“Illinois is making history, because our state will now be the most progressive in the nation for reproductive healthcare. In Illinois, we trust women to make the most personal and fundamental decisions of their lives — and now, that will be the law of the land, even as it’s under threat in other states,” Pritzker said in a statement after the bill passed in the Illinois House.

The bill, called the Reproductive Health Act, establishes the “fundamental right” of a woman to have an abortion and states that a “fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights.”

The newspaper noted that the legislation also repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, ending provisions for spousal consent, waiting periods, criminal penalties for physicians who perform abortions and other restrictions on facilities where abortions are performed.

The bill also repeals the state’s Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, but the Tribune noted that a federal law prohibiting late-term abortions, except to save a mother’s life, is still in place.

The lifting of abortion restrictions in Illinois comes as several Southern states have passed legislation to essentially outlaw the procedure in an attempt to trigger the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

“I believe, frankly, there’s a war against women’s rights going on,” Illinois state Sen. Melinda Bush (D), the sponsor of the bill, said.

“We’re not going back,” Bush told the newspaper. “We’re not going back to coat hangers, we’re not going back to dying. We’re not going back. And I am proud to say Illinois is a beacon. For women’s rights, for human rights.”

Republicans in the Illinois legislature called the measure a “radical” expansion under law.

State Sen. Dale Righter (R) said the idea the measure is necessary "simply to protect a woman’s right to choose is not accurate," arguing the legislation "goes much further and does much more."