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Illinois continues to fight to protect reproductive rights

Chicago Tribune

Monday, January 23, 2023  |  Letter to Editor  |  Carole Levine, chair, Courts Matter Illinois, Chicago

Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision that set precedent for all to have bodily autonomy and the right to make their own health care decisions, including abortions. But 49 years after the ruling, a very different Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade amid a growing radical, reactionary movement that perpetrates anti-bodily autonomy, anti-woman and anti-gay prejudice across this nation. What should be a celebration is today a time of mourning for the loss of nearly 50 years of federal protections.

The state of Illinois continues to be a beacon of hope for those seeking reproductive care in the Midwest. In solidarity, 26 Illinois organizations have signed on to this letter to stand firmly with our state legislature in its commitment to protect and defend abortion rights justice. We are proud that Illinois is uniquely positioned to lead others in protecting our residents and those who come here to seek the care that they cannot receive in their own states.

Just in the last few weeks, our state legislators passed legislation that will protect access to abortion in Illinois from out-of-state meddling. The bill, fully supported and signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, will shield reproductive and gender-affirming health care patients and providers from legal action originating across state lines where such care is being restricted. It will also protect the Illinois licenses of health care providers licensed in multiple states who provide treatment in our state. Other components deal with insurance costs and with licensing nurse practitioners and others to provide these services.

As other states look to further restrict abortion access, Illinois is finding ways to ensure that it is available to all.

In his inaugural address, Pritzker proposed a constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion access. We know that the future of abortion justice begins at the local and state levels. We applaud Pritzker for this step and will work to support the passage of this important amendment.

As we mark the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that we are not truly free unless we can control our own bodies, lives and futures. We call upon all Illinoisans to join together in building a strong future for reproductive justice for all.

Carole Levine, chair, Courts Matter Illinois, Chicago