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Roe vs. Wade Trigger Law Under Microscope in Illinois

A bill by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz would remove an automatic abortion trigger in Illinois law. (
A bill by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz would remove an automatic abortion trigger in Illinois law. (
February 13, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Reproductive health care advocates are urging Illinois lawmakers to approve legislation that would repeal a Roe v. Wade "trigger provision" in state law.

A House committee last week voted in favor of House bill 40, by state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, which would remove language in state law that says if Roe v. Wade is overturned or modified, Illinois state law would revert to before that 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, and abortion would again become criminal in the state.

Lorie Chaiten, director of the ACLU's Women's and Reproductive Rights Project, said this legislation is necessary to ensure that every woman in Illinois can make her own health care decisions and have access to safe medical care, regardless of what happens in Washington.

"The bill is designed to ensure that there's no risk of that happening, that there's just way too much risk with Trump in the White House,” Chaiten said. "We want to be absolutely sure that here in Illinois, that right isn't going away."

A second part of the bill would make sure women who depend on Medicaid and state employee health insurance are able to access abortion services. Opponents have said that amounts to public funding for abortion.

Anti-abortion advocates held rallies across the nation Saturday calling for federal funding to be pulled from Planned Parenthood facilities.

Chaiten said abortion is a personal choice, and every woman should have affordable and comprehensive health care coverage.

"Regardless of how we feel about abortion, we can all agree that when a woman has decided to end her pregnancy, that she should be able to do it through a qualified licensed provider,” she said.

She said she hopes the bill will win approval in the House and Senate, and will then be signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"We don't know what the governor will do,” Chaiten said, "but we have every hope that he will sign this bill, that he'll understand that this bill is essential to assure that women in Illinois have access to the kind of health care that they need and that they'll have that access regardless of what happens in the Trump Administration."

Illinois is just one of a handful of states that with abortion trigger laws on the books.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL