In recent weeks and months we have seen several painful examples of the way in which politics is used to threaten and damage women’s health care – the Komen/Planned Parenthood funding issue, the issue of contraceptive coverage in employee health care benefit plans, the personhood amendments in states across the nation and severe restrictions on reproductive healthcare in several states. Now the campaign against women’s health care has come back to Illinois. We are currently facing two bills that seek to close down access to reproductive health care under the guise of protecting women’s health– by ramming measures through, of all places, the Agriculture Committee.
The first measure – House Bill 4117 – threatens to shut down access to many women’s reproductive health care services, including abortion, in our state. House Bill 4117 (which we saw last year) creates a series of new, burdensome regulations, unrelated to protecting health, for facilities that perform abortions – regulations that will cause many, if not most, of the Illinois’ abortion providers to shutter their facilities. This is, of course, the aim of the anti-abortion zealots who propose this bill – which will be heard in the Agriculture Committee as early as Tuesday, February 21st (along with measures on tethering dogs and boat safety). The hearing of this bill in the Agriculture Committee insults all who care about women’s health.
The second bill -- House Bill 4085 -- would force all Illinois women seeking abortion, regardless of individual health circumstances, to view an ultrasound of the fetus or sign a statement documenting the reasons for her refusal. Imagine how traumatic viewing this ultrasound could be for some women, particularly those terminating for health reasons or because of rape or incest, and if they refuse to view the ultrasound, having to justify their decision in a written statement! The bill also increases costs for women seeking essential health care and increases the cost of regulation for a state agency already financially strapped.
So to put it mildly, it’s been an eventful couple of months for women's health care nationally and at home. Advocates for quality women's health care around the country are facing similar bills or worse.
Help us fight back!