Abortion laws across the country have been making headlines in recent weeks. With states like Alabama and Georgia moving to ban nearly all abortion, while states such as New York and Vermont move to remove nearly all regulations on abortion, the pro-life/pro-choice divide is now at the center of our national conversation.
On Tuesday, Illinois joined the states that are moving to remove regulations on abortion, as the state House of Representatives passed the Illinois Reproductive Health Act with a 64-50 vote. The bill removes nearly all restrictions and regulations regarding abortion, repeals the Illinois Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and requires insurance companies to provide coverage for abortion.
For those in Illinois who are pro-life, the Illinois House vote was a devastating blow. Although newly-elected governor JB Pritzker pledged during his campaign to make Illinois an abortion-friendly state, many did not expect that the bills introduced would be so far-reaching. Sheila Liaugminas, host of A Closer Look™ and a resident of Illinois said, “We in Illinois knew this day was coming, but we did not know how the outcome would turn out to be.”
Peter Breen, former member of the Illinois House of Representatives and current Vice President of the Thomas More Society, stopped by A Closer Look this week to discuss this new bill and the effects it will have on the state.
“It’s a dark day, not just for Illinois but for the state of our country,” Breen said. “This is the broadest expansion of abortion that we know of in any state in the Union.”
Breen pointed out that although a bill removing abortion regulations was expected, the scope of what the bill removes is more than many anticipated. He explained, “It repeals the Illinois Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. It allows abortion up to the moment of birth for any reason or no reason, even for fully viable babies.”
Although the passage of the bill by the Illinois House of Representatives is a blow to the pro-life movement in Illinois, Breen commended them on their efforts to prevent the bill from moving forward.
“The pro-life movement, that was both churches and other groups, did an incredible job,” he said. “Tens of thousands of communications went to each representative. Four thousand people packed the Capitol, literally shutting it down. The people of faith of this state rose up in a way that you’ve not seen in a long time. So that really did cause this bill to stall.”
“There’s going to be a lot of work to do going forward in the Land of Lincoln,” Breen continued. “But the efforts of pro-life people across the state and across the region really did have a huge impact on this legislative process.”
Listen to the full conversation with Peter Breen below: