Illinois to ignore federal abortion gag rule

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(Photo via NARAL)

(Photo via NARAL)

SPRINGFIELD — This week, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois will refuse to implement the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule. The rule bars federal funding for contraception for low-income women unless providers refuse to refer or provide abortion services along with other reproductive health care.

“President Trump’s gag rule undermines women’s health care and threatens the providers that millions of women and girls rely on, and we will not let that stand in the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said. “Under my administration, Illinois will always stand with women and protect their fundamental right to choose. While I’m committed to bringing as many federal dollars to the state as possible, I refuse to sacrifice our values and allow vital care to lapse. In this state, we trust women to make their own health care decisions and will guarantee access to reproductive health care for all of our residents.”

The state will forgo the funding while the gag rule remains in effect, the governor’s office said in a statement. Instead, the Illinois Department of Public Health will provide funding to the current 28 grantees, an estimated $2.4 million in federal funding, if the gag rule remains in place for the duration of the fiscal year.

The ACLU of Illinois applauded the move.

“Ignoring the real need for this health care for Illinois women, the Trump Administration has politicized this life-saving health care, placing unnecessary and dangerous restrictions on how grantees under Title X can utilize this funding,” said Colleen Connell, executive director of the ACLU-Illinois. “We thank Governor JB Pritzker for acting swiftly to protect all women in Illinois – ensuring that the same level of funding for women’s health care will be available in the Land of Lincoln without the strings attached by Donald Trump.”

Planned Parenthood Illinois Action also welcomed the news.

“We are grateful to Gov. Prtizker and Illinois Department of Health Director Ezike for their decision to not accept Title X family planning funding as long as the gag rule is in place,” said Jennifer Welch, PPIL president and CEO. “The relationship between a patient and their doctor is based on trust and honesty; the gag rule violates that trust and puts patients’ health at risk.”

Title X provides a holistic portfolio of critical preventive health services, including HIV prevention and testing, breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment, and reproductive health care for thousands of low-income, uninsured and underinsured Illinois residents and families each year. It’s estimated in Illinois that nearly 773,000 women of reproductive age are in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies.

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