Illinois AG issues guidance on reproductive rights in state
The Illinois Attorney General Office on Wednesday released new guidance to ensure that the public and members of law enforcement understand Illinois’ legal protections for abortions.
The office released “Know Your Reproductive Rights,” a free online resource to ensure that the members of the public understand their rights. The guidance explains that Illinois law protects the right to have an abortion and treats abortion like other kinds of health care. Attorney General Kwame Raoul also issued a letter to law enforcement to clarify that Illinois law does not criminalize abortion.
“It is important for women to know that, regardless of whether federal protection for reproductive health care continues, Illinois law protects their rights,” Raoul said in a statement. “As a number of neighboring states enact draconian laws to restrict or eliminate reproductive freedom, Illinois is a proud reproductive health care oasis that will not infringe upon a woman’s right to make highly-personal abortion and reproductive health decisions.”
Illinois law protects the right to access safe abortion services even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Abortion rights in Illinois include:
- The right to an abortion regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, race, ethnicity, disability status or other protected characteristic.
- No set time limit on abortions. Patients should talk with their health care providers about their individual circumstances to decide what treatment options are best for them.
- Health care, including abortion and other reproductive care, for residents of other states.
- The right to an abortion for individuals under the age of 18.
The office also issued a letter to law enforcement throughout the state explaining that Illinois law does not allow the prosecution of pregnant women for terminating their pregnancies. The letter further clarifies that Illinois law also prohibits law enforcement from interfering with individuals’ exercise of their fundamental right to use or refuse reproductive health care.
Illinois has the least restrictive abortion laws in the Midwest. Abortion access is a right under state law and the repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act went into effect on Wednesday, June 1.
Since a draft opinion overturning Roe leaked in April, Illinois has been seen as a haven for access. The state has already seen more out-of-state patients because of restrictive laws in other states. The Illinois Department of Public Health estimates that nearly 10,000 women came to Illinois to have an abortion in 202, a 29% increase over the prior year. One in five patients obtaining abortions are from out-of-state.