CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Wednesday morning sweeping new abortion rights legislation, establishing the procedure as a “fundamental right” for women in Illinois.
“In a time when too many states across the nation are taking a step backward, Illinois is taking a giant step forward for women’s health,” Pritzker said in remarks at the Chicago Cultural Center before signing the bill. “Today, we proudly proclaim that in this state, we trust women.”
Illinois lawmakers approved the legislation in the recently ended spring session amid an increased sense of urgency among advocates looking to protect abortion access as a series of states recently passed laws essentially banning the practice.
“I believe, frankly, there’s a war against women’s rights going on,” Sen. Melinda Bush, the Grayslake Democrat who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said at the time.
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Bush and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, were among those standing behind Pritzker as he signed the bill.
The bill establishes the “fundamental right” of a woman to have an abortion and states that a “fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights.” It repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, doing away with provisions for spousal consent, waiting periods, criminal penalties for physicians who perform abortions and other restrictions on facilities where abortions are performed. A number of those provisions have not been enforced because of court injunctions.
State lawmakers approved the measure on their last scheduled day of the General Assembly’s spring session, before heading into legislative overtime to handle other high-profile bills such as casino gambling expansion and a $45 billion capital projects package.