Illinois gov. calling special session on Roe, pols react

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Photo by Tom Wray

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday, June 24, that he was calling a special session of the Illinois General Assembly in response to the SCOTUS decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade.

“I am informing the General Assembly that I will be calling them into special session in the coming weeks to more firmly protect women’s reproductive rights in Illinois and address the challenges posed by this radical Supreme Court decision,” Pritzker said in a statement. “I’m grateful to have the support and partnership of House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon in this effort. Together, the Democratic leadership in Illinois is committed to taking swift action to further enshrine our commitment to reproductive healthcare.”

Pritzker also had unusually strong language toward those celebrating the decision.

“To the right-wing officeholders who today are cheering the Supreme Court’s ruling: GET YOUR IRON BOOT OFF WOMEN’S NECKS! Hop off your high horse and know that what you’re calling a “celebration of life” today will actually lead to death — the death of women in abusive situations, the death of women whose health is at risk, the death of women and girls who will still seek abortions—ones that are unsafe and performed by unqualified back-alley butchers.”

He promised to keep Illinois an access haven in the Midwest.

“I am angry but unafraid,” said Illinois Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton. “Today, and every day, I will continue fighting for a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. I am disappointed but determined. Although we have known for weeks that our right to bodily autonomy can be a matter of debate, and can be taken away with a single decision, we cannot avoid the deep ache caused by this ruling. It is a dark day for our country.”

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul reiterated that abortion is legal in the state.”

“As I assured Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday at a White House roundtable on reproductive health, Illinois has been and will continue to be a proud reproductive health care oasis where women have the right to make their own highly-personal reproductive health decisions with their families and medical professionals,” he said. “In light of today’s decision, I encourage people to review guidance my office issued to ensure reproductive rights are protected in Illinois, and I am reminding law enforcement that abortion is legal in Illinois – regardless of today’s decision.”

“Today’s ruling is a distressing departure from five decades of precedent and a devastating blow to women around the country,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “This decision turns the clock back to a time when women did not have autonomy over their own bodies and died trying to access health care.”

Democratic members of the Illinois congressional delegation also blasted the decision.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a tragic, devastating rollback of nearly half a century of progress and precedent in protecting reproductive rights, the right to bodily autonomy, the right to privacy, and the rights of women more broadly. Unfortunately, this is likely only the beginning of this extreme, right-wing court’s attacks on the rights of Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Schaumburg).

“Today, our nation took a devastating step backward. This decision dismantles nearly 50 years of settled judicial precedent for reproductive rights, the right to abortion care, and the right to privacy and autonomy. Now, millions of women will be denied the right to make personal and private health care decisions and, in certain instances, be criminalized for doing so,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Joliet).

“I’m unspeakably outraged that today the Supreme Court has erased 50 years of precedent and openly attacked the rights of women nationwide,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago). “This decision will have an extremely detrimental impact on women’s healthcare, especially in the face of our worsening maternal mortality crisis. More mothers are going to die.

“Black women, marginalized women, low-income women and rural women will bear the brunt of this. However, this is an attack on the personal freedom and bodily autonomy of every single person living in the United States.”

“Today’s decision is a shocking reversal of a half century of settled law on women’s rights,” said Mike Quigley (D-Chicago). “At least two Supreme Court judges lied to the Senate about their intention to keep Roe in place and have now ensured that Republican legislatures across the country have control over women’s bodies.”