Pro-Choice Bills Could Cement Illinois as the Midwest’s Abortion Care Oasis

Illinois Democrats recently introduced legislation to secure and expand reproductive rights, changes that could have far-reaching effects, as people travel to Illinois to secure abortion care that is difficult to access in neighboring states.

And one part of that legislation could help providers cope with that influx of out-of-state patients by expanding the number of medical professionals who can provide in-clinic abortion services.

The two bills proposed last week in the Illinois General Assembly would repeal decades-old statues intended to criminalize abortion providers and require parental notification for minors to receive abortion care. The measures have large Democratic support in the general assembly where Democrats hold supermajorities in both chambers.

“It’s pushing back against a deliberate strategy of the anti-abortion movement of stigmatizing and siloing women’s reproductive health care, and these bills are saying we need to treat reproductive health care like any other health care,” Colleen Connell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois, told Rewire.News.

The Reproductive Health Act (HB 2495), proposed in the Illinois House by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), would repeal a 1975 law that includes criminal penalties for doctors who offer abortion care, though it has been largely blocked by the courts. The legislation also seeks to repeal targeted regulations on facilities that provide abortion services, repeal laws that have allowed husbands to block their wives from obtaining abortions, and require all private health insurance companies in the state to provide coverage for abortions. The Reproductive Health Act builds on a law Illinois lawmakers passed two years ago requiring Medicaid and state group health insurance plans to cover abortion, Connell said.

The legislation would repeal the state’s ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, which is…

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