2011 has been a precarious year for women’s health care. Across the nation, political leaders seem determined to undermine the ability of women to access even the most basic health care – especially reproductive health care. The U.S. House recently voted to slash federal funding that provided more than 2 million breast cancer screenings and more than 2 million pap smears in the United States. In the same week, the House also slashed all funding for Planned Parenthood across America.

State legislatures have been equally egregious. Officials in some states have introduced legislation that apparently authorized the murder of some reproductive health care providers and broadly we are seeing some of the most onerous restrictions on reproductive health care offered in decades.

Illinois is not immune. In recent weeks, we have seen a spate of anti-choice bills introduced in Illinois, including:

  • House Bill 1919 takes a very deceptive route to limit access to reproductive health care for women in Illinois. The bill mandates that every woman seeking an abortion in Illinois would be offered a viewing of her fetus on ultrasound and would have to attest in writing if they did not want to view the fetal image. This legislation adds nothing to safe abortion practice in the state and interferes with the physician-patient relationship, often in a manner that is harmful to women. Download the fact sheet.

  • House Bill 1569 creates Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as an insurance option for state employees. Then comes the damaging part. The legislation bars not only the use of state-contributed funds for abortion related expenses, but fails to assure that state employees can use their own contributions for abortions – even those that are medically necessary. House Bill 1569 unfairly penalizes those who have chosen a career in public service. Download the fact sheet.

  • House Bill 3156 amends the Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Act to largely revoke the benefits of the longstanding Consent Decree in Ragsdale v. Turnock, under which abortion facilities have been safely and effectively regulated for the past 20 years. The bill will require facilities that offer safe, early abortions to comply with excessive requirements unrelated to patient health and safety at significant cost and will decrease access to abortion services in Illinois where 92 percent of the counties already do not have an abortion provider. Download the fact sheet.

We will keep watching this legislation. We will continue to oppose it – and other proposals – designed to substitute the judgment of Springfield politicians for the real-life experiences of women across our State. And, we will keep you updated on these proposals as the session moves forward.