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Reproductive Health Act roundup

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019

* Illinois Public Radio’s Maureen Foertsch McKinney

The new Illinois bill would cover reproductive health care, in addition to abortion, including pregnancy, miscarriage, contraception, sterilization, preconception care and any related services. It would repeal a mid ‘90s ban on partial birth abortion and require private health insurers to cover abortions.

Like New York’s law, the Illinois plan would lift a requirement that doctors be the only ones to perform abortions. It would allow other kinds of qualified health care providers, like nurse practitioners, to do the procedure. It would also bring up-to-date the 1975 Illinois abortion law that contained criminal penalties for doctors performing abortions. That could come into play should a conservative U.S. Supreme Court decide to overturn Roe v. Wade, the federal case that removed state prohibitions on abortion.

“People everywhere should have access to the full range of reproductive health and have that available without barriers. This is a healthcare procedure. This is about what the patient and the doctor decide is best for them, and, you know, if that’s considered a progressive notion, so be it,’’ said state Representative Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat and the bill sponsor.

She says laws on the books about abortion need to be modernized. “The very idea that a health care procedure is discussed and regulated under the criminal code is ridiculous.”

* Rebecca Anzel at Capitol News Illinois

Illinois’ current abortion statute was passed into law in 1975. Legislators wrote their objective was to “reasonably regulate” abortion procedures to adhere with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

Since then, though, courts have struck down several aspects of the Abortion Law, such as a ban on fetal experimentation, a prohibition on sex-selective abortion procedures, and a provision allowing the husband of a woman seeking the procedure to receive a court order barring her from doing so.

Illinois’ chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has also pointed out that the state’s law includes a provision allowing doctors to be jailed for performing an abortion procedure.

According to a memo prepared by the Thomas More Society, the Reproductive Health Act goes much further than bringing the state’s law up-to-date.

“A bill intended to repeal only unconstitutional provisions of Illinois law would have been half a page long, not 120 pages,” the memo’s author wrote.

* Rewire

Another key provision of the Reproductive Health Act would allow advanced practice nurses and clinicians to provide in-clinic abortions. Current law only allows for physicians to provide these procedures while advanced practice nurses are limited to providing medication abortion. Allowing nurse practitioners to provide in-clinic abortions will increase the number of providers in the state, potentially meeting an increased demand should patients from surrounding areas continue to seek care in Illinois, said Liz Higgins, associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

“Adding in-clinic abortions for nurse practitioners would be a huge benefit of this bill,” Higgins said, noting that nurse practitioners already provide a range of reproductive health care, including IUD insertion and other gynecological procedures. “Limiting in-clinic abortions for advanced practice nurses is really just harming our patients by limiting access to health care in a timely manner.”

* In 1995, 4,853 girls under the age of 18 had abortions in Illinois. But with the passage of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, that number is now 79 percent lower. That’s a much larger decrease than the 25 percent overall reduction of all abortions from 1995 to 2017

According to the [1995] law, “Parental consultation is usually in the best interest of the minor and is desirable since the capacity to become pregnant and the capacity for mature judgment concerning the wisdom of an abortion are not necessarily related.”

But the sponsors of this legislation argued Tuesday the state should not legislate “the details of family life.”

“It never made sense to me that a minor can make other decisions — about carrying a pregnancy to term, about adoption, about sophisticated health care — without parental notification, but only if she seeks an abortion do we require this communication,” [Rep. Chris Welch] said. “We cannot pretend as elected officials that we can force ourselves into these situations because some disagree with a minor’s decision about their life.” […]

“It is unbelievable that the ACLU is joining Planned Parenthood in advocating to allow a child to make an irrevocable decision to kill another child without even a consultation with her parents,” [March for Life Chicago Board of Directors President Dawn Fitzpatrick ] said in an email.

* More on that angle

As for the bill related to the parental notification, [Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville] asks what happens in a situation where a teenager goes through the process of having an abortion performed all alone and it leads to other complications.

“It is a medical procedure, and I think a parent or a guardian needs to know just in case something isn’t right,” he said. “I mean, something like depression wouldn’t be too surprising.”

* Protests are being held and a Statehouse rally is planned for next Wednesday

About 500 people packed the Effingham Event Center Tuesday to oppose two bills that would provide greater access to abortion procedures in Illinois. […]

Attendee Michelle Delhaute McGowan, President of In His Hands Orphan Outreach. She said she attended because the proposed legislation greatly affects an orphan and adoption agency she runs.

“We’ve had women who were eight months pregnant when they came to us and both said they would have had an abortion but it was too late,” she said. “If these bills go through, other women in that situation will be able to abort these children that can survive outside of the womb.”

* Elizabeth Bauer at the Federalist

To begin with, it wholly repeals IL 720, the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975. This law has been amended multiple times, including in 2017 (HB 40), but some minimal protections remained, so that current Illinois law permits post-viability abortions but requires that an attending or referring physician determine that it was “necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” in which case the doctor was required to document the particular medical indications for the abortion. It also requires that, if the baby would be capable of survival, the doctor use the abortion method “most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus” and a second physician be available to provide medical care for any child born alive. These provisions would be entirely removed.

* Zorn

The House bill, known as the Reproductive Health Act, “would basically enshrine abortion as a positive good in Illinois law,” says a critical memorandum released Feb. 21 by the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based conservative law firm.

No. It would enshrine access to abortion — abortion rights — as a positive good in Illinois law. It would enshrine female bodily autonomy as a positive good. It would enshrine the idea that the best person to solve the moral dilemmas associated with unwanted or seriously compromised pregnancies is the pregnant woman herself.

I’m thrilled about this legislation because I believe in reproductive choice. I believe it’s none of my business what a woman decides to do after she becomes pregnant. I believe that the very suggestion that women are casually obtaining late-term abortions because — whoops! — they just got around to making the appointment or have decided they really want to fit into that bridesmaid’s dress is offensively misleading and belies the wrenching, usually tragic circumstances.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

24 Comments »
  1. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    Those on both sides of this debate sicken me with their rhetoric and inability to compromise. Personally, I think government should stay out of it, either by helping or hurting a person’s right to decide, but both the RTL and RTC people can’t help but antagonize and politicians are going to politic.


  2. - Honeybear - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    Very thankful. Well said Zorn


  3. - Put the fun in unfunded - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    Repeals the requirement that a coroner investigate if a woman dies as a result of an abortion (55 ILCS 5/3-3013). Repeals the requirement that abortion clinics be held to same standard as any other ambulatory surgical center performing medical procedures (210 ILCS 5/2).


  4. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    “The very idea that a health care procedure is discussed and regulated under the criminal code is ridiculous.”

    Most healthcare procedures don’t result in one person deciding to kill another person. It’s incredibly disingenuous to pretend that no one besides the mother is affected by the decision. We don’t want to criminalize it, fine, but don’t pretend abortion is not a unique kind of service. There are all kinds of situations where an abortion is the best outcome, literally the decision that does the least harm. But not all situations, and pretending otherwise makes you look like a partisan hack. Whatever, people don’t care about facts when they go for the sound bytes.


  5. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    Zorn’s “unwanted pregnancies” -> “I don’t want to deal with you, so I’m going to kill you.” Sure that’s simplistic and in some ways reductive view (no less reductive than his), but there is a lot of truth in it.


  6. - Chris Widger - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    ==Those on both sides of this debate sicken me with their rhetoric and inability to compromise.==

    If you believe that abortion is murder, how can you possibly compromise? If you believe that a woman’s right to bodily autonomy is absolute, how can you possibly compromise? As Democrats showed us during the budget negotiations, the middle ground is not sacred.


  7. - Sillies - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    Abortion (or Zorn’s neutered “abortion rights”) is the “clean coal” of health-related issues. One can choose to support it or be ambivalent about it but in order to do so you must disregard science.

    If the legitimacy of abortion relates in any way to “viability” (see R vs W) then science is not its friend. Clean coal makes something that is dirty seem clean without scientific legitimacy. Abortion rights is just the same.


  8. - anon2 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Repealing parental notification is hardly a moderate policy.


  9. - The ‘Edge’ - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    I have daughters and should they choose to include me in a decision to abort it is entirely up to them. Over the years I have found that they have indeed made the best decisions about their lifes.


  10. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    Someone should tell Elizabeth Bauer taking a baby out of a womb post viability is called a “cesarean “ not an “abortion”.


  11. - Amalia - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    any piece on infertility in this? because that reproductive choice….in vitro fertilization…is something the Vaticant does not like. the entire range of reproductive choices should be available to women. that’s what agency is about.


  12. - Redbird - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    If Dem legislators think the 2018 election means they have a mandate on issues like these, they are overplaying their hand. Maybe I’m out of touch, but it sure doesn’t seem like this would poll well with the masses.


  13. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    ==Maybe I’m out of touch, but it sure doesn’t seem like this would poll well with the masses.==

    It depends on how you ask the question.


  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    So, you need parental approval to get you ears pierced or a tattoo, but not an abortion. You can’t buy cigarettes unless your 21 but you can have an abortion. I thought progressives thought it was “your body”.

    /s


  15. - lakeside - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    http://www.nprillinois.org/post/illinois-issues-states-abortion-debate#stream/0

    80% of Illinoisans (2016) think abortion should be legal in some or all cases and are more supportive of abortion than the national average in all categories, so seems like it would poll pretty well.

    The fundamental question is do you trust women to make their own choices? Or do you think they need to be controlled because they aren’t able to think through the complexities and reach a sound decision?


  16. - SOIL M - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    Put the fun in unfunded @ 1:21pm—-
    That is the Hermit Gosnell Provision.


  17. - anon - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    lakeside - polling on abortion is usually done in generalities (”pro life” “pro choice”). Polling on specific provisions are less common, but there are polls showing significant support for limited rights to an abortion (both in timing, purpose, and requiring notification of parents).


  18. - Secret Square - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    Last I looked this bill had been assigned to the “Informed Consent Subcommittee” of the Human Services Committee. That would seem to indicate that the legislative powers that be are having second (and third and fourth) thoughts about even bringing this up for a vote — because subcommittees, generally, are where unwanted bills go to die. Am I correct about that?


  19. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    Would anyone dispute the fact that women will continue to choose not to bear a child no matter any law or religious belief.

    In light of that fact…what is the best way to ensure the safety of those women?

    Is the answer obvious to only me?…I often wonder.


  20. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    lakeside, that is not the question, which is what annoys me most about the rhetoric. It’s not about whether women can be “trusted” to make a decision, or are smart enough, or whatever. It literally is a discussion about what decisions are allowable. The entirety of criminal law is about taking away people’s freedoms to act when society decides people shouldn’t be allowed to do certain things. You disagree? Fine. It doesn’t mean your opponents are misogynists.


  21. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    The entirety of criminal law is about taking away people’s freedoms to act when society decides people shouldn’t be allowed to do certain things. -
    Perrid

    That is one repressive interpretation of law…and wholly incorrect.

    No law is inherently designed to first take away (violate) any legal right or freedom to legally act.


  22. - lakeside - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 4:36 pm:

    ==or whatever.==

    The idea of leveraging the state to force someone to remain pregnant and give birth against her will because a religiously-inspired belief of some about when life begins doesn’t exactly sound pro-woman to me.


  23. - anon2 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 8:00 pm:

    Proponents of the bill talk about the agency of women. But many girls under 16 can get pregnant. Should there parents not even be notified before their minor daughters opt for surgery?


  24. - Facts - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 8:51 pm:

    Lots of inaccurate and misleading information out there about the reproductive health bill. It isn’t full of big changes like many think. It mostly removes laws already enjoined by the courts. Not sure why it’s such a controversy, aside from the topic.


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