Chicago – A new statewide public opinion poll finds that only one in three Illinois voters supports House Bill 4085, a measure forcing women in the state to undergo and view an ultrasound when seeking an abortion or refuse to do so in writing. The poll, conducted by Fako & Associates of suburban Lisle, finds that only 33% of Illinois voters polled supported the legislation, with a majority opposed. The majority of both men (57%) and women (53%) opposed the legislation.
The bill, which could be considered by the full Illinois House at any time, creates a state mandate that physicians offer a medically-unnecessary ultrasound to all patients. A woman who does not undergo the medically-unnecessary procedure must decline the physician’s mandated offer in writing, using a form that would be collected and stored by the Illinois Department of Public Health. At a hearing in Springfield last week, House Bill 4085 sponsor Representative Joseph Lyons told the Illinois House Agricultural and Conservation Committee that the bill was not about “women’s health.” He acknowledged that the real “purpose” of the bill was to limit abortions in the State of Illinois.
The poll by Fako & Associates also found that nearly 3 in 4 Illinois voters (74%) thought that the Agricultural and Conservation Committee, which often deals with issues of livestock, guns and hunting, was an inappropriate forum for a bill on women’s health to be heard. (Six in 10 Illinois voters thought the venue was “very inappropriate.”)
“The voters of Illinois clearly see this bill as a radical attempt to substitute politician’s ideological judgment into the medical decisions made by a woman with her physician,” said Colleen K. Connell, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which commissioned the poll. “The law will force many Illinois women to undergo unnecessary medical procedures. Government has no business forcing these procedures on women.”
A proposal to mandate ultrasounds was withdrawn from consideration in the Virginia legislature last week after it was noted that the Virginia bill would mandate an invasive, transvaginal ultrasound. During testimony on House Bill 4085, a Chicago physician testified that the Illinois legislation could require physicians to use this invasive procedure for some women. Despite this testimony, the Illinois House Agricultural Committee approved House Bill 4085, along with another measure – House Bill 4117 – that will close down women’s health clinics – including centers owned and operated by Planned Parenthood – and reduce medical services for women provided at physicians’ offices across the State of Illinois.
“Taken together, these bills will slash the availability of critical health care – including accessing contraceptives, pap smears and breast cancer screenings – if they become law,” said Lorie Chaiten, director of the ACLU of Illinois Reproductive Rights Project. “These bills do nothing to increase health and safety for women in Illinois.”
“What we know most of all is that not a single man in Illinois will be affected by these bills,” added Chaiten.
“The poll shows that the voters of Illinois are not fooled by these radical proposals,” added the ACLU’s Connell. “We urge the full House to follow the lead of the public and reject these medically inappropriate and politically charged measures.”
Fako & Associates, Inc., of Lisle, Illinois conducted the survey by telephone on February 20 – 22, 2012 using professional live interviewers. F&A interviewed a random sample of 602 registered voters that are likely to vote in the November 6, 2012 general election within the State of Illinois. Five hundred and twenty four (524) of the weighted interviews were conducted on landline phones and seventy eight (78) weighted interviews were conducted via cell phone. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.99%.A summary of the poll conducted by Fako & Associates can be found here.