*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…
In response to Personal PAC President and CEO Terry Cosgrove’s comment during a recent press conference that Assistant House Republican Leader Avery Bourne was a used as a “prop” during the abortion bill debate on Tuesday, the women of the House Republican Caucus have issued this joint statement:
“At a time when Democrats talk about the importance of empowering women and acknowledging their value in leadership roles, Terry Cosgrove’s efforts to degrade Assistant Leader Avery Bourne’s importance as a spokesperson for our caucus is indefensible. Avery is one of our caucus’ most outspoken advocates on the protection of unborn life, and any attempts to diminish the credibility of her voice is appalling.”
Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro)
Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton)
Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb)
Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst)
Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Havanna)
Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena)
Rep. Lindsey Parkhurst (R-Kankakee)
*** UPDATE 2 *** Terry Cosgrove…
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
I want to apologize to Representative Avery Bourne publicly and completely. This morning, I cast an unfair and inappropriate aspersion on Representative Bourne’s passionate advocacy on the floor of the Illinois House, asserting that it was a “cheap political stunt.” That was just wrong. It not only was offensive to Representative Bourne personally, it also rudely ignored the heartfelt, passionate way in which Representative Bourne expressed herself in Committee on Sunday evening and yesterday in the full House. She may disagree with the position embraced by Personal PAC, but she did not deserve to be subjected to such an insult.
This was an unnecessary, harmful distraction to Representative Bourne as she attempts to complete her work in the waning days of session. She deserves this respect and recognition for her work, not the flippant response of someone who should know better. In the coming hours, my intent is to communicate this apology directly to Representative Bourne.
* Amanda Vinicky…
As other states, including neighboring Missouri, have passed laws that are tantamount to abortion bans, Illinois is moving in the opposite direction.
After an emotional, but by and large respectful debate, the Illinois House on Tuesday voted 64 to 50 to enshrine in state law a woman’s fundamental right to have an abortion.
“Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, efforts to undermine reproductive rights have been constant. We have seen in recent days and weeks these attacks have increased dramatically. They are focused and strategic and aimed at undermining our right to bodily autonomy and self-determination,” sponsoring Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said. “Not on my watch.”
Cassidy repeatedly said the measure will merely codify in state statue what is already common practice.
The measure, Senate Bill 25, repeals the Illinois Abortion Law, which could punish doctors for performing abortions – law that has technically been on the books since the ‘70s but is not in practice due to court injunctions and decrees.
* Jamie Munks…
The bill, called the Reproductive Health Act, would also repeal the state’s partial birth abortion ban, which affects later-stage pregnancies. Partial-birth abortions are not allowed under federal law, unless it’s used as a means to save the mother’s life when it’s in jeopardy.
* Rebecca Anzel…
It designates access to contraception, pregnancy benefits, abortion procedures, diagnostic testing and other related health care as a fundamental right, banning government from impairing that access for women and men. […]
During floor debate Tuesday, Cassidy had a scripted back-and-forth with Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston. It covered topics ranging from whether the Reproductive Health Act would allow abortions to occur at any point during a pregnancy for any reason — in short, no, Cassidy answered — to who can perform an abortion — only doctors can carry out a surgical one, but physician assistants and advanced-practice registered nurses can prescribe medications. […]
[Cassidy] went on to answer questions from lawmakers from both parties for nearly two hours. There were two phrases she repeated frequently: The Reproductive Health Act “does not change the current standard of practice” and “doctors are required to adhere to accepted standards of clinical practice.” […]
In addition, the measure repeals several aspects of current law that courts have blocked, including criminal penalties for doctors and spousal consent.
* Dana Vollmer…
In an unusual move, Republicans deferred almost all their time to one colleague: state Rep. Avery Bourne, from Raymond, who’s pregnant. She went back and forth with the legislation‘s sponsor, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Democrat from Chicago.
“How broad do we intend for this to be?” Bourne asked.
“A doctor will make a decision based on the accepted standards of medical care,” Cassidy said.
“Could you give me any parameters that we’re asking this doctor to make?” Bourne asked.
“I am not a doctor,“ Cassidy replied. “Doctors decide. And doctors decide based on the accepted standards of clinical care.”
* Tina Sfondeles…
For about 45 minutes, Bourne questioned Cassidy on everything from the meaning of a “fundamental right” to parental notification to what an “extraordinary medical measure” is.
Bourne offered examples, such as whether a baby at 36-weeks could be terminated if an ultrasound shows a “hole in their heart.” She also described whether a sick baby being flown to a neo-natal intensive care unit would be considered an “extraordinary medical measure.”
“This broadens their ability to make that decision,” Bourne said.
Cassidy said legislators “can’t and should not be hearing hypotheticals.”
“Lawmakers are not doctors. Doctors need to use the accepted standard of clinical care and to make their decision to the best of their knowledge,” Cassidy said.
Putting Rep. Bourne out front helped give the Republicans a strong visual image since she’s so very pregnant. But it also kept their more, um, vocal members quiet and in the background.
* Cassie Buchman…
The debate became emotional at times, including when Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, asked Cassidy a series of questions about the language in the bill. Several Republican House members gave up their time to talk about the bill so Bourne could speak long beyond the five minutes allotted to each lawmaker.
Bourne’s voice cracked as she talked about what she said is the “most expansive” abortion bill in the state and country.
“This bill is not about keeping abortion legal in Illinois,” Bourne said. “This is about a massive expansion that will impact viable babies. And that is wrong.” […]
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, of the Diocese of Springfield, issued a statement condemning the “gravely immoral” action of the House in passing the bill.
“Christians have rejected the practice of abortion from the earliest days of the Church,” he said. “Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception. They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm. Legislation that deprives children of legal protection before they are born, allowing for the murder of children at any stage in the womb, even up to the moment of birth, is evil.”
* Rachel Droze…
But Bourne said doing this is wrong.
“This is an expansion of abortion unlike states around us and I think it certainly makes us an outlier in the country,” Bourne said after the debate. “We are legislating for what is happening right now and in the state of Illinois. For them to use what other states are doing to justify their expansion of abortion, I think, is irresponsible legislating.”
Bourne led the opposition debate against SB25 on the House floor.
Each time she spoke, all Republican representatives stood to listen to the 33-weeks-pregnant mom-to-be.
“This bill will mean that for a person at my stage of pregnancy, where the baby responds to his dad’s voice as he reads him books at night, the woman could go to the facility — the baby is perfectly healthy — but if that woman says based on my familial health this is medically necessary, that is allowed,” Bourne said during the debate on the House floor.
* Greg Bishop…
Republican state Rep. Avery Bourne, who’s pregnant, took issue with several parts of the bill, which she said was too expansive.
“So you are taking out the prohibition on sex-selective abortions and you think that’s the appropriate thing for the state to do?” Bourne said.
“I think that it is appropriate to codify current practice,” Cassidy said.
Bourne also took issue with what she said was the measure’s language removing rights from an unborn fetus. She worried the law would not allow someone to be held accountable for an attack against a pregnant woman that harmed or kills a fetus in the womb. Cassidy said existing law on that issue would stand.
Bourne and other Republicans were also concerned about a lack of requirements to report to the state why an abortion was performed, and even restrictions they said would keep a coroner from investigating botched abortions.
The coroner thing was a bit interesting because the only medically related death that has to be reported to a county coroner is abortion. This legislation would treat abortion like every other death after a medical treatment or procedure.
* Jack Crowe…
The bill’s proponents have argued that the legislation codifies existing practice and is necessary in light of the recent passage of restrictive abortion laws in a number of Republican-controlled states, as well as the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, which many pro-choice activists are concerned might overturn Roe v. Wade.
“RHA codifies our existing practices and — and this is critical — treats abortion care just like any other health care, because it is,” said the bill’s sponsor, state representative Kelly Cassidy (D., Chicago).
* Joe Bustos…
Passsage of the RHA in the House came on the same day as the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis says it may lose its license to perform abortions. The St. Louis Planned Parenthood location is the only clinic in Missouri that provides abortions.
That news may lead to more women coming to Illinois for an abortion, officials at Hope Clinic in Granite City said.
About half of Hope Clinic’s patients are from Missouri, with 40 to 45 percent from Illinois, and 5 to 10 percent from elsewhere, said Alison Dreith, the clinic’s deputy director.
Dreith said after Missouri instituted a 72-hour mandatory waiting period for abortion in 2014, more and more people came to Hope Clinic, especially in the last two years.
* Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia)…
“All you have to do is look at the tally board to see where the votes came from…..from up north. I am looking forward to the days of truth and justice for the babies in the womb.”
* One more…