Gov. Pritzker, lawmakers react to report on SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was joined by several state lawmakers to condemn the reported...
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was joined by several state lawmakers to condemn the reported Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade.(Source: Governor JB Pritzker/Facebook)
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 10:31 AM CDT
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CHICAGO, Ill. (KFVS) - Lawmakers nationwide continue to react to a Politico report that the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion in the U.S.

Report of the draft opinion of the case was made public Monday night, May 2.

On Tuesday morning, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was joined by several state lawmakers to condemn the draft opinion.

“The terrifying implications of this decision and what it means for millions of women across the country cannot be understated,” said Gov. Pritzker. “But let me be clear- no matter what atrocity of an opinion the Supreme Court officially rolls out this summer in regards to Roe versus Wade – abortion will always be safe and legal here in Illinois.

Pritzker went on to say he will “fight like hell – not just for the women who call Illinois home, but every person in every corner of this country who deserves to live a life of their own design.”

He believes with the recent passing of anti-abortion laws in neighboring and other states, more women from out of state are coming to Illinois for abortions and reproductive care.

According to the governor’s office, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports the most recent data shows 7,534 nonresidents received abortions in Illinois in 2019, compared with 2,970 in 2014 and 5,528 in 2017.

Pritzker expects women, men and voters will come out in force to protest and march in the name of women’s reproductive rights and privacy.

In 2019, Pritzker signed the Reproductive Health Care Act, which ensures current medical standards and requires private health insurance plans in Illinois to cover abortion like they do other pregnancy-related care.

The governor and other lawmakers say the 2019 act was passed in anticipation of the future overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“We’ve been warned this day would come,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “That’s why we’ve worked hard in Illinois to ensure Roe v. Wade is codified into law and reproductive health care will never be in jeopardy. In Illinois, we will never go back.”

In addition to signing the Reproductive Health Care Act into to law, Pritzker repealed the Parental Notification Act in 2021. This act ensures that a pregnant minor can choose whether or not to involve a family member/legal guardian in their decision to have or not have an abortion. Advocates say this measure protects a minor from notifying their abusers if they are a victim of rape, incest and domestic abuse.

State Representative Camille Lilly (D-Chicago) said if Roe v. Wade is overturned it would push women’s rights backwards.

“While this draft opinion from the Supreme Court is not final, this attack on Roe v. Wade is appalling. Although we’ve expanded protections for reproductive healthcare here in Illinois, countless communities across the country will be disproportionately harmed by this decision,” said Rep. Lilly. “Creating barriers to reproductive health services is going backward with women’s rights. Denying a person’s request for an abortion is essentially telling them they do not deserve the same rights as other patients. Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, as well as people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, immigrants, and those most vulnerable in our communities will be the most affected by this opinion if it is made final.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth also reacted to the reports on Tuesday.

“If this draft opinion becomes reality, a small group far-right Justices would be stripping away protected constitutional rights that millions of American families—including my own—have relied on for 50 years—and that 70% of Americans believe should be legal. The institution, and the Justices who claimed Roe was ‘settled law,’ will struggle to survive the stench of this decision.

“In a nation with a growing maternal mortality crisis and often inaccessible healthcare, without affordable childcare or universal paid leave, forcing births on millions of people—even when the mother’s life could be at risk—is particularly cruel. Before finalizing their decision in this case, I hope these Justices recognize that you cannot ban abortions, you can only criminalize safe abortions—and that their decision in this case could have far-reaching consequences on many, many other rights.

“I will keep working to convince my colleagues in the Senate that we must act to codify Roe v. Wade into law so that every American has equal access to basic, necessary healthcare—regardless of which state they live in, the color of their skin or the size of their income.”

State Representative Patrick Windhorst released this statement on Tuesday:

“As a pro-life legislator, I rejoice at the possibility presented by the apparent coming decision by the United States Supreme Court that would overturn the wrongly-decided cases of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. As Justice Alito reportedly wrote, the decision in Roe was wrong from the beginning.

“If the Supreme Court indeed goes through with reversing Roe and Casey, the light of life can shine more brightly throughout our country. Let’s be clear about what the decision would mean. This decision itself would not outlaw abortion, but would rather allow each state to make its own laws in regard to abortion. It would, as Justice Alito reportedly wrote, “heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

“I am deeply concerned that someone with a clear political motivation would leak an unpublished, unconfirmed decision from the Supreme Court in an apparent attempt to intimidate justices or to sway the court.

“So many lives have been ended by abortion procedures in the last 50 years. I pray for the lives lost and affected by abortion, and joyfully celebrate that unborn children may soon have the protection that has not been afforded to them since this decision was first made.”

Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued this statement on Tuesday:

“While it is not an official Supreme Court opinion, the news from the Supreme Court is extremely disturbing for women all over the country. Laws such as Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act, which my office supported, are more important than ever in ensuring that regardless of the Supreme Court’s final decision, Illinois women will remain free to make highly personal reproductive health decisions in consultation with their medical providers. However, when states such as Missouri, attempt to virtually regulate abortion clinics out of existence, the impacts spread beyond Missouri’s borders. More than a dozen states have passed ‘trigger laws’ that will criminalize abortion as soon as the Supreme Court’s draft opinion is final, and many states have enacted laws or regulations to limit or eliminate reproductive freedom. The actions those states take have consequences everywhere.

“In 2020 alone, the Illinois Department of Public Health estimates that nearly 10,000 women came to Illinois to have an abortion – a 29% increase over the prior year. As neighboring states take draconian steps to eliminate reproductive freedoms, we have taken action to fight abortion access restrictions and are proud that Illinois will remain a reproductive health care ‘oasis.’ As stated in a brief I joined like-minded state attorneys general, which was filed in the case that is the subject of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion, laws that severely restrict abortion access in one state drive women to utilize health care resources in neighboring states. This is something we are continuing to see in Illinois.

“I take seriously the vital role that attorneys general play in preserving access to reproductive health care, and I will continue to advocate for the rights of all women to access the reproductive care they need within their own communities – without having to face the burden of crossing state lines to receive what can be lifesaving abortions.”

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