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Illinois House passes bill removing late-term abortion restrictions

Illinois House passes bill removing late-term abortion restrictions
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The Illinois House on Tuesday passed a bill loosening restrictions on abortion in the state.

The bill, proposed by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D), passed 64-50, according to local ABC News affiliate, News Channel 20.

The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) would repeal both the state's Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975. Repealing those two laws would lessen restrictions on abortions later in pregnancy and remove criminal penalties for physicians who perform them.

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The new bill would also require insurance coverage for procedures and contraception.

Cassidy has maintained that the bill simply codifies current abortion practices in the state, adding that the measure is necessary in light of several other states' recent actions to restrict abortion.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider slammed the bill's approval.

“In just a few short years, the Democrat party in Illinois went from advocating ‘safe, legal and rare’ to abortion on-demand, at any time, for any reason, and funded by taxpayers," he said in a statement.

"This is not the typical pro-life vs. pro-choice debate I have been accustomed to in my lifetime. The RHA goes much further," he added, dubbing the bill "unconscionable" and urging the state Senate and governor to reject it.

NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Illinois chapter praised the bill’s approval in the House.

“The State House just passed SB25 with a 64-50 vote!” the group tweeted. “The Reproductive Health Act protects the right to safe and legal abortion, removes outdated and dangerous restrictions, and will ensure abortion is treated like any other form of healthcare. To the Senate it goes!”

Illinois's bill expanding abortion access comes as many Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed bills restricting access to the procedure.

In neighboring Missouri, the state's only abortion clinic told CBS News on Tuesday that it expects to be shut down by state authorities this week.