Members of the Illinois House Democratic Caucus were joined by Planned Parenthood officials at a press conference Thursday to tout actions they say reaffirm women’s reproductive rights.
House Democrats passed House Bill 1464, which precludes the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from revoking, suspending, or taking any other disciplinary action against licensed physicians, nurses, and advanced practice nurses for providing any related medical service to an abortion.
Illinois law already protects the right to abortion as health care, but the bill seeks to protect health care providers who practice in multiple states.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, said if a medical professional practicing in Illinois and other states is disciplined in another state, that also triggers potential disciplinary action. in Illinois. But as other states have moved to make abortion more difficult or outright illegal, the law would protect an Illinois doctor who is disciplined in one of those states for performing an abortion from facing the same discipline. in Illinois.
Hirschauer said he acted quickly on the bill because reproductive health care is under attack in the United States and because the United States Supreme Court cannot be counted on to uphold the fundamental right to health care. reproductive.
“We’ve been talking here in Illinois – now is not the time to punish healthcare workers for doing their jobs and serving their patients,” Hirschaurer said.
HB 1464 passed the House, 68-41, and still needs Senate approval.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule as soon as this summer on a Mississippi abortion case that challenges the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. wade. Mississippi law prohibits abortion after 15 weeks but provides exceptions in cases where the fetus has a serious abnormality “incompatible with life” or where the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life.
Brigid Leahy, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood Illinois, said if the Supreme Court ignores half a century of precedent and overturns Roe v. wade, it will become more difficult for people out of state to access the full range of care they need.
“If Roe falls, every state bordering Illinois will quickly move to an outright ban or severe restriction on abortion,” Leahy said.
Illinois has 17 Planned Parenthood Health Care Centers that provide access to health information and services for men and women.
Leahy noted that people from other states have already started turning to Illinois for access to reproductive health care, and Planned Parenthood facilities could see at least double the number of out-of-state patients if Roe v. Wade is canceled.
Recently, Leahy said, Illinois Planned Parenthood worked with a Mississippi patient who was unsure how he was going to afford transportation, room and board, and the cost of an abortion, until a Planned Parenthood team sets up housing.
“I urge everyone to remember that no pregnant person should have to travel out of state to get the care they need,” Leahy said.
In a follow-up interview, Leahy said Planned Parenthood plans to help deal with an influx of patients needing to travel to Illinois to access reproductive health care.
She said they were working on a fundraising campaign to help expand care capacity, had upgraded the health center in the Chicago Loop, and were coordinating with other Planned providers. Parenthood, affiliates and local abortion funds.
In January, a regional logistics center opened at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Fairview Heights that uses private funds to pay for travel and accommodations. The center is operated by Planned Parenthood and the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City.
There are no income or distance requirements to access center services, but patients should make an appointment with the clinic before requesting logistical support.
House Democrats have also advanced resolutions acknowledging their support for protecting reproductive health care. House Resolution 94 urges the state to fully fund family planning, House Resolution 789 raises awareness of the importance of reproductive rights, and House Resolution 790 seeks to reiterate Illinois’ support for Roe v. Wade.
House resolutions are non-binding and do not require Senate approval or a Governor’s signature.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.