Illinois ACLU warns Danville leaders of state law, constitutional violations

DANVILLE – The ACLU of Illinois on Tuesday sent a letter to Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. and members of the Danville City Council warning that a proposed ordinance that would declare the community a “sanctuary city for the unborn” is illegal under the Illinois Constitution and Illinois law.

“Illinois law protects and guarantees every person’s ability to make their reproductive health care decisions without governmental interference,” Chaundre White, senior supervising attorney at the ACLU of Illinois, said in a news release. “Danville and every other community in Illinois are not free to violate that law.” 

In recent weeks, Danville residents and leaders have discussed plans for the proposed ordinance in response to plans by a medical group to open a clinic that offers a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion care.

At a protest last month across the street from 600 N. Logan Ave. where the clinic plans to open, Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right to Life East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative, said he’d been working with city officials on ordinance language to incapacitate and stop the proposed clinic from opening.

Dickson said last month that there were 65 cities and two counties in the U.S. that passed ordinances prohibiting abortion within their jurisdictions. Dickson has been working with Danville officials who want to prevent the clinic from opening.

The ordinance would place requirements aimed at blocking the new clinic from functioning, including prohibiting the receipt of medications or instruments that can be used for abortions. This ordinance is being introduced in the Danville Public Services Committee at its Tuesday night meeting.

The letter notes that both the Illinois Constitution and Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act make clear that Illinois policy is to protect reproductive rights. 

In particular, the letter notes that the RHA states that:

  • Every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health, including the fundamental right to use or refuse reproductive health care.
  • Every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion, and to make autonomous decisions about how to exercise that right.
  • A fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State.

The ACLU called on the Danville elected officials to reject the ordinance, noting that “it is without question that Illinois law protects reproductive rights––including the right to obtain an abortion within the state. The city of Danville is not above this law.”

“Abortion remains safe and legal in Illinois,” added White. “Danville should recognize their responsibilities under the laws of our state.”

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via rk2’s favorite articles on Inoreader

April 25, 2023 at 05:35PM

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