The COVID-19 pandemic creates anxiety and hardship for millions of Americans, and raises a number of urgent issues for the most vulnerable in our state. In response, the ACLU is in contact with state and local government officials to ensure that all actions in response to this crisis are based in science and public health.
Illinois now faces a “shelter in place” order, increasing anxiety for many. We continue to monitor the situation to assure that the order does not include unreasonable or discriminatory enforcement, does not set an unnecessary curfew and remains in force only as long as is required to advance public health.
We are working to make sure that all health care, including abortion care, is considered "essential" and can be accessed despite the growing number of "shelter in place" directives. This includes continuing to operate our Judicial Bypass Project for youth seeking reproductive health care.
We are especially concerned with those being detained – whether before trial in county jails or in Illinois prisons – who are vulnerable to COVID-19. These institutions, with crowded and often unsanitary conditions, are prone for the spread of a virus such as this one, making them a dangerous place to house thousands of people. For this reason, we are working to get as many people as possible released from detention – before the virus is present in jails and prisons across the state.
Likewise, the ACLU is monitoring the situation for immigrants in our state, including those held in large numbers at county jails. There is little reason to continue to detain these individuals, separating them from their families and putting their health at risk.
We will continue to monitor these and other situations throughout this crisis and update this page as we can.