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Illinois lawmakers, organizations condemn SCOTUS draft opinion on Roe

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Illinois politicians and organizations reacted strongly to a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. The draft opinion was leaked to Politico which published it Monday evening.

“Planned Parenthood of Illinois is furious that the Supreme Court is prepared to ignore half a century of settled law and end the constitutional right to an abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade,” said Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “But it’s also not a surprise.  We have been preparing for this decision for years, and we will continue to ensure that every patient, no matter where they live, has access to the health care they need and deserve.”

Planned Parenthood clinics in Illinois have seen a sharp increase of out-of-state patients as other states have restricted access. Illinois is the only Midwestern state with laws that protect access to abortion.

“This is a devastating blow for the millions of people who will suddenly find themselves in an abortion desert; facing a daunting dilemma – travel hundreds of miles to access an abortion, seek an illegal alternative or carry a pregnancy to term against their will,” Welch said.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said that in 2020, almost 10,000 people came to Illinois seeking abortion services.

“Illinois NOW is outraged at the draft decision from SCOTUS Justice Alito regarding the gutting of Roe v Wade,” said Laura Welch, Illinois NOW president. “Legislators who will force people to give birth have been working for decades to put this high court together. We call on our Senators Durbin and Duckworth to immediately remove the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Our leaders must be loud and clear that we will not return to the back allies.”

Equality Illinois Deputy Director Mony Ruiz-Velasco said the LGBTQ rights organization condemned the positioning, calling it violence against people who needed affordable and accessible reproductive services, especially those in marginalized groups. But it wasn’t only person’s choice on pregnancy at risk.

“Make no mistake: LGBTQ+ rights are in the crosshairs next,” she said. “The same people who have championed the legal campaign to this draft opinion have already signaled their intent to build off an opinion like this to take away our employment protections, our right to marry legally, and even our right to form intimate relationships free from criminalization.”

“For more than half a century, the right to choose has been a fundamental, sacred right protected by the Constitution,” said U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Schaumburg). “This evening’s leaked draft of the Supreme Court majority opinion reveals the final blow they plan to deliver to this sacred right by overturning Roe v. Wade. While this is only a draft opinion, it is also a warning of the grim reality that may befall our nation for all who ever believed that the right to make reproductive decisions should fall to individual women, not Congress, the President, nor Supreme Court Justices who will never have to live a day in their shoes.”

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker kept it short in a tweet soon after the news broke on Monday night.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pritzker expanded on his thoughts.

“The terrifying implications of this decision and what it means for millions of women across the country cannot be understated,” said 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. Illinois is and will remain a beacon of hope in an increasingly dark world.”

“Women and advocates from our most marginalized communities warned us for years that this could happen. We are seeing attempts to strip away our rights in real time, and this threat to bodily autonomy is only the beginning,” said Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “We recognize the magnitude of this decision should it go forward, the amount of pain and trauma it can cause.”

The Reproductive Health Care Act, which was signed into law in 2019, establishes abortion access as a fundamental right in Illinois. The state also repealed the Parental Notification Act in 2021. Illinois is the only Midwestern state to improve access to reproductive services.

Ruiz-Velasco said that a national law against abortion, as many anti-choice activists have called for, would undo the work to protect reproductive healthcare choices in Illinois.

“We’ve been warned this day would come,” said Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Chicago). “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.”

“The deeply misguided decision—made mostly by men—to overturn Roe v. Wade and strip legal protections for reproductive rights will have devastating consequences for women and families across the country,” said Majority Conference Chair LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis). “It is immoral, partisan and erases decades of progress in the fight for equality in America.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) said the decision was the culmination of years of effort.

“This draft decision represents the culmination of decades of Republican attacks on women’s health care,” Quigley said. “Mitch McConnell and the radical right mobilized to steal two Supreme Court seats specifically with this goal in mind.

“Let me be clear—the party of ‘small government’ wants to control women’s bodies.”

Equality Illinois has also put out a list of abortion funds that work to remove barriers to access, calling on people to donate if they can:

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