The Illinois House passed an abortion expansion bill Wednesday that calls abortion a “fundamental right,” states the fetus “does not have independent rights” and makes abortion a part of health care.
Live Action, the national pro-life group founded by Lila Rose, said the bill was “inherently worse” than the New York abortion expansion bill that was signed into law.
Republican state Rep. Avery Bourne, who is pregnant, pleaded with her colleagues to oppose it.
“We are talking about the most expansive bill we have seen in this state,” Bourne said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. She was surrounded by her female GOP colleagues. “We already know that we’ve got women coming to Illinois to have abortions because we are so expansive on this issue. That will continue. This bill is not about keeping abortion legal in Illinois. This is about a massive expansion that will impact viable babies. And that is wrong.”
But supporters said it was needed.
“To our neighbors in Illinois who hear the news around the country and worry that this war on women is coming to Illinois, I say, not on my watch,” Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy said. “To the people in Missouri and Alabama and Georgia and Kentucky and Mississippi and Ohio, I say, not on my watch.”
The text of the bill declares: “Every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion.”
The unborn have no rights, it says.
“A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State,” the bill says.
The bill allows abortions when the fetus is viable if it is necessary to “protect the life or health of the patient.” Pro-lifers, though, often criticize health exceptions because the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Doe v. Bolton decision defined “health” so broadly so as to allow abortion for virtually any reason.
The bill’s definition of fetal viability, too, is controversial. Fetal viability, according to the bill, is when “there is a significant likelihood of a fetus' sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”
Illinois Right to Life Action said the bill “expressly strips all rights from unborn children, changes the definition of viability, and legalizes abortions through all nine months of pregnancy, up to the moment of birth, for any reason.
“Any restrictions or regulations on abortion are effectively eliminated.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Antonio Gabola/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.