DANVILLE – The ACLU of Illinois today sent a letter to Danville Mayor Rickey Williams and members of the City Council warning that a proposed ordinance that would declare the community a “sanctuary city for the unborn” is illegal under the Illinois Constitution and Illinois law and must be rejected. Passage or attempted enforcement of the misguided proposal “will do nothing other than expose the City to significant legal liability and fees.”
“Illinois law protects and guarantees every person’s ability to make their reproductive health care decisions without governmental interference,” said Chaundre White, Senior Supervising Attorney at the ACLU of Illinois, one of the signatories to the letter. “Danville and every other community in Illinois are not free to violate that law.”
In recent weeks, Danville residents and leaders have discussed plans for the proposed ordinance in response to plans by a medical group to open a clinic that offers a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion care. The ordinance would place unnecessary requirements aimed at blocking the new clinic from functioning, including prohibiting the receipt of medications or instruments that can be used for abortions. This ordinance is being introduced in the Danville Public Services Committee, even though it is blatantly unenforceable under the Reproductive Health Act.
The letter notes that both the Illinois Constitution and Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act make clear that our State policy is to protect reproductive rights. In particular, the letter notes that the RHA plainly states that:
(a) Every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health, including the fundamental right to use or refuse reproductive health care.
(b) Every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion, and to make autonomous decisions about how to exercise that right.
(c) A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State.
The ACLU calls on the Danville elected officials to reject the ordinance, noting that “it is without question that Illinois law protects reproductive rights––including the right to obtain an abortion within the state. The City of Danville is not above this law.”
“Abortion remains safe and legal in Illinois,” added White. “Danville should recognize their responsibilities under the laws of our state.”
A full copy of the letter from the ACLU of Illinois can be found here.