Below are the remarks from Lorie Chaiten, Director, Women's and Reproductive Rights Project from the HB 40 bill signing ceremony:

I am delighted to be here to mark this enormous step forward for the women of Illinois as Governor Rauner signs House Bill 40 into law.

In 1975, the Illinois General Assembly added dangerous language to the Illinois Abortion Law – stating an intention for abortion to become illegal if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned. By removing this so-called “trigger” language, House Bill 40 ensures that abortion will remain legal in Illinois – as it is today – regardless of what happens in Washington.

With Donald Trump appointing members of the judiciary, there is simply too much risk to women’s health to leave this language in place. We must remember that the President has vowed to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history."   

By signing House Bill 40, Governor Rauner enacts into law critical protections for the women of Illinois, and the State of Illinois proclaims that we are never going back.

House Bill 40 also removes provisions from Illinois law that deny abortion coverage to many women who get their insurance from the government – including low income women and some state employees. This bill backs up our state’s values by ending political interference with insurance coverage for abortion and ensuring that a woman isn’t treated differently just because of her income or where she gets her insurance.

It is simply common sense: when health programs for women with low incomes cover birth control and abortion – not just childbirth – and people can plan if and when to have children, it’s good for them and it’s good for society as a whole.

The federal ban on insurance coverage for abortion, known as the Hyde Amendment, has been in place for more than forty years, and has left a trail of devastation in its wake.

Research shows that restricting Medicaid coverage of abortion forces one in four poor women seeking abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.  And, a woman who wants to get an abortion but is denied is more likely to fall into poverty than a woman who can get the abortion she seeks.  

For a low-income woman in Illinois, forced to make an impossible decision between paying rent or paying for an abortion, this is about health, economic security, and being able to live with dignity.

As the US Supreme Court has made clear, only through control of our reproductive lives can women play in equal role in the professional, academic and social spheres of our nation.

Today, Illinois stands up for equality, for economic security – for the well-being of women, of families and of the state as a whole.

The ACLU would like to thank House Bill 40’s sponsors, Representative Sara Feignholtz and Senator Heather Steans for their efforts to move this legislation forward.  We also would like to thank the members of the General Assembly that supported the measure.    

And, thank you Governor Rauner for valuing women, protecting health and making clear that Illinois refuses to go back to pre-Roe days when abortion was illegal and women risked their lives and their health as they sought this essential health care. 

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