While a wave of Republican-led states have recently pushed laws restricting abortion, Illinois and Nevada moved legislation forward Friday aimed at protecting access to the procedure.
The Illinois Legislature has sent Senate Bill 25, also called the Reproductive Health Act, to the governor’s desk that would protect the “fundamental rights of individuals to make autonomous decisions about one’s own reproductive health.” The measure passed the Illinois Democratic-led Senate late Friday with a 34-20 vote. Only one Democrat voted against the bill, and Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker has said he will sign the legislation.
Under the bill, pregnant women have the “fundamental right” to have an abortion and a “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.”
It repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, which penalized doctors for performing the procedure, and the state’s ban on partial-birth abortions. The bill also provides insurance requirements to cover abortion procedures.
“As states across the country pass dangerous laws restricting access to abortion, we in Illinois are standing with women and guaranteeing access to reproductive health care,” Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement.
Bush said there’s a “real possibility” that in the coming years the Supreme Court could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Her bill, she said, “guarantees that women in Illinois have the right to make decisions about their bodies, regardless of what happens at the federal level.”
The bill will immediately take effect once the governor signs it into law.
“Today was a major step forward for every woman in this state and I look forward continuing my work as an ally by signing the Reproductive Healthcare Act into law,” Pritzker wrote in tweet on Tuesday.
In Nevada on Friday, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the “Trust Nevada Women Act,” Senate Bill 179, which removes long-standing criminal penalties for abortion and requirements for medical providers.
“Nevada has a long history of trusting the women of our state to make their own reproductive health care decisions and protecting the right to reproductive freedom,” Sisolak said at the bill signing ceremony.
The new law decriminalizes certain actions related to performing abortions, abortion drugs and abortion prosecution. It rewrites existing state abortion laws that require physicians to notify a pregnant woman about the “emotional implications” of an abortion, instead requiring doctors “describe the nature and consequences of the procedure.”
Physicians in the state would also no longer have to certify in writing a pregnant woman’s marital status and age before performing an abortion as previous laws required.
“In light of increasing attacks at the federal level and in other states such as Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Louisiana, SB179 reaffirms Nevada’s commitment to protecting reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care,” Sisolak said Friday.
He continued, “I have been disappointed by the recent uptick in efforts in other states to restrict women’s right to choose, and I am especially proud today to be a Nevadan, where we protect a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own body.”
Sisolak also signed Senate Bill 94, which allocates $6 million in funding for statewide family planning grants.