Illinois now has perhaps the most permissive abortion laws in the nation after Democrats pushed an expansive new bill through the legislature and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it into law on Wednesday.
Democrats billed the proposal as shoring up existing law over concern that the U.S. Supreme Court could soon reverse Roe v. Wade, but Republican State Rep. Tom Morrison says the legislation was far more sweeping than that, starting with how lawmakers view abortion.
“The most important thing it does is that it says that abortion is a fundamental right of women – actually not just women. The sponsor of the bill said anyone with a uterus and ovaries, so I guess that’s not just women today as they would define it,” said Morrison.
When it comes to specifics, Morrison says the expansion of abortion access is obvious.
“This bill was 126 pages long and expanded [permissiveness of abortion]. It removed clinic regulations. It removed provisions to have two doctors involved in a late-term abortion. There’s a provision for non-physicians to do abortions up to a certain point,” said Morrison.
According to Morrison, the bill also changes the definition of a viable unborn baby.
“It’s now left up to what the doctor determines at the moment, rather than having two doctors agree on a case by case basis,” said Morrison, who adds that the lone doctor can be the abortion provider and a late-term pregnancy can be considered non-viable simply because the baby would need to be flown to another facility for care in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.
In addition, Morrison fears the legislation will be very dangerous for mothers who suffer complications from an abortion. He says the new law does not require a coroner to investigate the deaths of women who were patients at abortion clinics, essentially allowing those deaths to vanish into the wind.
Among the most controversial provisions is the provision to allow abortions at any stage of pregnancy, even when the child could survive outside of the mother. While supporters frequently refer to parents making the decision after discovering their child is severely deformed, Morrison says there’s no mention of that issue in the bill.
In fact, Morrison says reasons like “familial health” are cited as reasons for an abortion at any stage.
“It could mean anything. It could mean financial health. It could mean mental health. It could mean a mother doesn’t like stretch marks and that would impact her perception of her body image.
“It’s totally up to interpretation. Maybe it it’s that a family already has a boy and they want a girl, so they abort the child because the child isn’t the sex that the couple wants. Maybe it’s that sleep would be interrupted for someone in the family,” said Morrison.
Morrison does believe the recent string of pro-life legislation banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected played a role in the pro-abortion legislation advancing in Illinois. He says momentum for aborting viable babies was pretty tepid before that.
“Even some of of the pro-choice legislators were reluctant to support those bills. Those southern states, as they moved forward on their bills and signed them into law, then the proponents in Illinois figured they had the green light to offer a counter to what was happening in those other states,” said Morrison.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Morrison also explain how the new Illinois law could soon lead to the overturning of parental notification and consent laws for minors seeking abortions, how Illinois abortion providers are circumventing the ban on partial birth abortions and much more.