June 24, 2022

Illinois leaders react to the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Source: WFLD Fox 32 Chicago


Local politicians and leaders are weighing in Friday after the Supreme Court reversed its landmark ruling on Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the decision "an enormous step backward" and is calling the General Assembly into special session in the coming weeks to "further enshrine" reproductive protections.

"In Illinois, we’ve planned for this terrible day, an enormous step backward and a shattering loss of rights," Pritzker said in a statement We passed the Reproductive Health Act, enshrining choice as the law of the land in Illinois. We removed the trigger law that would have prohibited abortion in Illinois with the overturning of Roe v Wade. We expanded health care so that finances are not a barrier to receiving reproductive care.

In Illinois, we are a state committed to expanding access to reproductive health care including abortion care, contraception access, fertility treatment and gender affirming care. We’ve made it clear that we trust people to make the best decisions for themselves about their own reproductive health."

Illinois in 2019 established in state law the right to reproductive health care, including abortion — a measure put in place just in case the landmark Supreme Court case was overturned. The groundwork to protect abortion in Illinois was set in 2017 when Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure that both allowed the public funding of abortions and ensured the procedure would remain legal.

And in December, Pritzker signed a measure that repealed the last state law on the books that restricted abortion rights — a law that stopped minors from having to give parental notification before having an abortion.

"In Illinois, we will hold firm to these rights and continue to work with stakeholders to expand them," Pritzker said in his statement announcing the special session.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 7,534 nonresidents received abortions in Illinois in 2019, compared with 5,529 in 2017 and 2,970 in 2014.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the decision will lead to more gender-based discrimination.

"It's a dark day in America for people who care about civil rights and equal justice under the law," Lightfoot said in a statement. "The Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark legislation that has paved the way for people in need of reproductive care to access safe abortions for the past 50 years, is unfathomable and devastating."

Cardinal Blase Cupich. archbishop of Chicago, issued a statement Friday praising the decision by the Supreme Court.

"We welcome this important ruling and the opportunity it creates for a national conversation on protecting human life in the womb and promoting human dignity at all stages of life. This moment should serve as a turning point in our dialogue about the place an unborn child holds in our nation, about our responsibility to listen to women and support them through pregnancies and after the birth of their children, and about the need to refocus our national priorities to support families, particularly those in need."

Former President Barack Obama condemned the reversal.

"Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans," Obama said in a tweet.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth said she was disappointed with the court's decision, calling it cruel and deadly.

"I am outraged and horrified—this outcome is a nightmare that robs women of their right to make their own choices about their healthcare and their bodies, and it paves the way for a nationwide abortion ban that Republicans have been seeking for decades. Millions of American families—including my own—have relied on Roe v. Wade for almost 50 years, and 70% of Americans believe it should remain the law of the land."

The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.

It puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored preserving Roe, according to opinion polls.

Alito, in the final opinion issued Friday, wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided and must be overturned.

"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision," Alito wrote.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

By:  FOX 32 Digital Staff