RHA in Illinois

SB25, The Reproductive Health Act, passed in the Illinois House 64-50 and subsequently, the Illinois Senate voted 34-20 in favor of the bill not long before midnight on Friday, May 31. The bill has now been sent to Governor JB Pritzker to sign into law.

“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.” – Governor JB Pritzker

We heard powerful testimony from Rep. Maurice West and others on the House Floor and moving speeches from several senators, including Senator Toi Hutchinson, during the debate on the Senate Floor. Their words showed the nation the commitment that many of our legislators have to protecting women’s rights and reproductive rights. Their passion reminds us how important elections are to protecting our fundamental rights.

As we see our surrounding states such as Missouri and Indiana along with Ohio, Alabama, and Georgia passing laws that restrict or ban abortion care, we know that access to reproductive health care is under attack. With such efforts sweeping across the nation, The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) is critical to protect reproductive rights in Illinois in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The RHA repeals the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975, thus removing outdated laws on our books including:

  • Requiring spousal consent to obtain abortion care,
  • Requiring doctor consent committees to approve an abortion,
  • Restricting certain forms of birth control, like the IUD,
  • Requiring a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortion care,
  • Banning assisted reproductive techniques, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Imposing criminal penalties to doctors for performing abortions

The Reproductive Health Act establishes the fundamental right to reproductive health and modernizes Illinois’ reproductive rights laws by repealing outdated and unconstitutional prohibitions on reproductive healthcare and enacting a new Illinois Reproductive Health Act that regulates abortion like any other form of health care. Contrary to rumors, the law, will primarily codify what is already being followed as law. But it provides additional certainty that what we understand to be the law, remains the law.

Reproductive health, birth control, abortion, and maternity care is healthcare, should be treated as healthcare, and should not be criminalized. As states across the country are passing laws in order to challenge Roe v. Wade with the Supreme Court, we have made sure that Illinois remains a pro-choice state where reproductive healthcare is safe and accessible.

Our gratitude to Rep. Kelly Cassidy for being the primary sponsor of and relentless champion for this legislation, to Senator Melinda Bush as the Senate’s primary sponsor, and to all who co-sponsored the bill. To all of the legislators, individuals and organizations who testified, your voice was heard. To all of the Handmaids who showed up day in and day out in silent protest, we saw you. And to you, our followers, who showed up to rallies, filled out witness slips, and relentlessly contacted your Reps and Senators – it was YOU who moved this bill along so that it will soon become law! THANK YOU!