The sponsor of a bill that would replace Illinois’ current abortion law with language that is less restrictive said Wednesday she feels the bill will be moving forward, even after it was previously stalled in subcommittee.
The Reproductive Health Act, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, would, among other provisions, make it so everyone has “a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions” about their reproductive health. It also requires private health insurance companies that cover pregnancy-related benefits to cover abortion and allows physician-assistants to perform the procedure.
The bill had previously been put into the House Human Services committee and moved to the Informed Consent subcommittee, before being pushed back to the Rules Committee.
Cassidy said at the end of a caucus meeting, House Speaker Michael Madigan did confirm he would entertain a request for a hearing on the bill in a different committee. She said she did not know which committee it would be.
Madigan’s spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
“I feel like we’ll be moving forward (with the bill),” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said the caucus had a “spirited” discussion about the bill.
“Lots of clarifying questions were asked,” she said. “People have strong feelings about it.
“In a lot of cases, (lawmakers) were raising some of the misinformation and lies being used by the opposition and asking for clarity on those pieces,” she said. “In most cases, when folks hear ‘here it is on this page; this is what it does,’ that helps a lot.”
Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said though the bill was held up for “quite some time,” she is excited it could now start to move forward.
“I think the passage of these abortion bans in other states have really started to get legislators realizing the need for legislation is not just something we’re talking about in an abstract way,” Leahy said. “It’s getting to be very real.”
A new law in Alabama would effectively ban abortion in the state, and Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky have passed laws restricting abortions. Most recently, Missouri lawmakers sent a bill to the governor criminalizing abortion after eight weeks into a pregnancy.
Leahy said she knows legislators have a lot of “high-profile” issues to deal with in the next 10 days, but “given what we know is at risk in the courts,” it would be a shame if the Reproductive Health Act was put off until next year.
“I think there is time to get it done,” Leahy said. “We need to make sure there’s commitment by legislators to stand up for women.”
“We are feeling very positive about this,” she added. “We are going to be working down to the wire.”
In a March press conference, House Republicans called the Reproductive Health Act “extreme,” saying it did not align with what most Illinoisans believe in.
Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, said she is going to continue to fight against the bill “for every minute that there’s a possibility that it might move.”
Contact Cassie Buchman: 782-3085, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/cjbuchman.
Region: Springfield,Feeds,State,Politics,Central,City: Springfield,Region: Central
via State Government News – The State Journal-Register http://bit.ly/2GxsTCh
May 22, 2019 at 07:47PM