Pritzker signs bill to protect abortion, gender-affirming care access

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) speaking at the signing of HB 4664 on Friday, Jan. 13, protecting abortion access. Screen shot from Facebook.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 4664 on Friday, Jan. 13. The new law protects healthcare providers who offer abortion and gender-affirming care.

The law protects healthcare workers from legal action from other states where abortion or gender-affirming is restricted or banned, including lawsuits or having their license revoked. It also bars the state from extraditing people for providing care in Illinois to a state where it has been banned.

The law also allows Illinois residents to recover damages, or sue, if they receive a judgement against them in a state that bars medical treatments that are banned in other states and requires insurance to cover abortion medication, hormonal therapy, and human immunodeficiency virus pre-exposure prophylaxis (PReP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

“Thank you Governor Pritzker for signing this law to protect health care refugees forced to flee their home state to receive abortion and gender-affirming therapy in Illinois,” said Planned Parenthood Illinois Action CEO Jennifer Welch. “We applaud this law for including crucial protections for Illinois providers, plus clinicians traveling to our state to offer care that patients need and deserve, and allowing practitioners to provide the medical procedures to the extent of their training. In the ever-shifting post-Roe national landscape, Illinois is an oasis for reproductive care. With this bill now in effect, Illinois is a leader in the fight for bodily autonomy and a haven to those seeking and providing essential health care.”​

“LGBTQ+ communities across the country are under attack,” said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Equality Illinois deputy director. “Trans people in particular are in urgent need of protection and access to the health care they need and deserve, including abortion and gender-affirming care. This legislation ensures essential protections and access.”

Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson said, “We appreciate our deep partnership with the providers who care for patients and families and who we advocated with for this important legislation, including Planned Parenthood Illinois Action and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. We are humbled to be in this ongoing fight with you to advance human rights and access to affirming healthcare.”

Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly passed the bill this week during the lame duck session. The law takes effect immediately.