This Sunday marks the 50th Anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision. Like many of you, I will be marching with folks who firmly believe that abortion is a personal decision and no government or religious organization has any right to intervene. AND like many of you, I had an abortion. As I have noted, following this sad loss of a very much wanted child, not one single politician supported me as I cried when my milk came in. Not one single religious leader held my hand as I was rolled into the operating room. And not one pro-birth person was there at night when I sobbed quietly, but my loving husband was. He was the only one who I made this decision with-no one else.
Following the Dobbs decision which gutted the right to abortion, our elected leaders in Illinois got busy. Because, here in Illinois, we call abortion a “nunya.” It’s nunya business unless you are the pregnant one. Last week, HB4664, the Patient and Provider Protection Act, was signed by Governor Pritzker. Illinois NOW would like to thank Governor Pritzker, Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, Senate President Harmon, House Speaker Welch, Representative Cassidy and Senator Villanueva along with the post Dobbs working group for their incredible work in, once again, making Illinois a safe haven for abortion rights and LGBTQIA+ freedom. This omnibus law includes protections for providers who come to Illinois from other states to provide abortion care even if a case is filed against them for providing the same care in a state where it was illegal. The law also expands who can provide abortions to include Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physicians Assistants consistent with their training and scope of practice.
In communities where religious health organizations have taken over local hospitals and ceased providing birth control and abortion care, especially those in low-income communities, communities of color and in rural settings, birthing centers will now be permitted to provide the full spectrum of reproductive and sexual health care.
But the working group did not stop there. As we are seeing in many states, the LGBTQIA+ community is facing mounting threats to their rights and safety. To that end, gender-affirming care is now protected in Illinois, care that we know will save lives, especially transgender young people. There is much more in this bill and you can find more information here: https://www.illinois.gov/news/press-release.25906.html
I encourage you to send a note to those who strive everyday to keep Illinois at the forefront of reproductive rights and the rights of our LGBTQIA+ community. I also encourage you to visit IL NOW at http://ilnow.org and learn how you can work to ensure our state remains a beacon of hope for human rights.