A ‘promise’ kept: Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signs landmark bill to protect reproductive rights

A ‘promise’ kept: Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signs landmark bill to protect reproductive rights


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Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says the state Constitution prohibits a referendum on Missouri’s new eight-week abortion ban. The ACLU submitted a referendum petition on the legislation. (June 6)
AP

WASHINGTON – The governor of Illinois on Wednesday signed a landmark reproduction rights protection bill, as several state legislatures across the nation continue to pass anti-abortion rights bills.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, which rescinds prohibitions on some late-term abortions and 45-year-old restrictions such as criminal charges against doctors who perform abortions. The restrictions were never enforced due to court orders.

“When I became governor, I promised that Illinois would become a national leader in protecting reproductive rights,” Pritzker said in a press conference Wednesday. “With the signing of the Reproductive Health Act, I’m keeping that promise.”

Over the past couple of months, several states have passed restrictive abortion laws, or so-called fetal heartbeat bills. 

Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia passed bills that would ban abortion after six weeks. Alabama also passed a near-total ban on abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

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Missouri also passed a law that will ban abortions after eight weeks, and will have no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The state also did not renew the license for Missouri’s only abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. There has been an ongoing legal battle to keep the clinic open, which a judge ruled to keep open temporarily.

The Illinois House in late May passed the abortion protection bill by 64-50. The Democrat-controlled Senate approved the legislation on May 31.

In his press conference, Pritzker criticized the restrictive abortion laws being passed across the nation, adding that Illinois’ act “ensures that women’s rights in Illinois do not hinge on the fate of Roe v. Wade, or the whims of an increasingly conservative Supreme Court in Washington.”

“In a time when too many states across the nation are taking a step backward, Illinois is taking a giant step forward for women’s health,” he said. “Abortion bans don’t ban abortion. They just endanger women.”

Contributing: Nicquel Terry Ellis, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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