Rep. Bourne Leads the Debate Against Abortion Expansion Legislation

SPRINGFIELD- On Tuesday the Illinois House voted on a measure promoted by Governor Pritzker that would make Illinois the most progressive state in the nation on abortion.

“Today the Illinois House passed legislation which will result in a massive expansion of abortions, that will mean an increase in late-term abortions in our state, and will make Illinois one of the most extreme states on abortion access,” Rep. Bourne said.

Originally filed as House Bill 2495, the Reproductive Health Act did not receive a hearing before the committee deadline in March and many presumed the bill would not move forward. The bill was referred back to the Rules Committee where it remained until being revived the Sunday night before Memorial Day attached to a new bill, Senate Bill 25. Proponents of the bill demanded action in response to states across the country, including Alabama and Georgia, passing laws on abortion intending to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

Bourne added, “Given the intense public interest in this bill for months, on both sides, it’s outrageous the way in which this bill was rammed through by the majority party. The process limited public input, did not allow experts to testify, is an unacceptable way to legislate, and most of all it is disappointing that they chose to not show this issue the respect it deserves.”

“This bill is being twisted as a way to keep abortions legal in Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned. However, unfortunately, with the passage of House Bill 40 last session, abortion, even late-term abortions in instances of the life and health of the mother, will remain legal in Illinois. What this bill really does is give abortion providers expansive interpretation power with new broad definitions of when late term abortions are allowed. This bill also repeals certain safety standards, repeals the prohibition on sex-selective abortions, mandates Illinois insurance plans must cover abortions for free, takes away the requirement that coroners investigate maternal deaths due to an abortion, and takes away the requirement that only doctors perform abortions. These extreme, expansive changes to Illinois abortion laws put mothers and viable unborn babies at risk,” Rep. Bourne said.

The Reproductive Health Act would establish abortion as a fundamental right in Illinois law. It further provides that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law. It repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act, and the Abortion Performance Refusal Act, which specifies that a medical professional who declines to recommend or perform an abortion procedure cannot be held liable for damages. The legislation contains intentionally vague definitions that will provide for a significant expansion of post viability abortions and establishing abortion as a fundamental right will mean Illinois will not be able to enforce its parental notification law that requires parents of minor children to be notified if their daughter seeks and obtains an abortion.

During the debate on Tuesday, Representative Bourne led the House Republican opposition to the bill, leading debate and asking questions on the bill for over an hour. Bourne, who is 7 ½ months pregnant, was emotional at some points throughout the debate. She and her Republican colleagues stood throughout the debate as a sign of respect for the unborn.

“The extreme deregulations written in this legislation are out of step with what most Illinoisans support and the sponsors are doing so under the guise of reproductive health,” Rep. Bourne continued.  “Calling it the Reproductive Health Act is dishonest. This bill will deregulate the abortion industry, eliminate the rights of all unborn babies, and eliminate restrictions on late term abortions.”

The opposition to the Reproductive Health Act was bipartisan, but only needed 60 votes to pass. SB 25 passed the Illinois House 64-50-4. The bill heads to the Senate for a vote.