Illinois gov. signs 'extreme' abortion bill: 'New death penalty for unborn'

Melissa Simpson snaps her fingers in support of a speaker during a protest against recently passed abortion ban bills at the Georgia State Capitol building, on May 21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. | Getty Images/Elijah Nouvelage

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law on Wednesday a bill that pro-lifers are calling the most "extreme" late-term abortion measure in the country.

“The governor and the Democratic supermajorities who fast-tracked this legislation have created a new ‘death penalty’ in Illinois, with no possibility of appeal, for viable unborn preemies,” said Peter Breen, former Illinois representative and vice president of Thomas More Society, in a statement.

The Reproductive Health Act, or SB 25, establishes a fundamental right to have an abortion while removing all rights from the unborn.

It repeals the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, legalizing late-term abortion, even when there is fetal viability, “to protect the life or health of the patient.” The bill broadens the definition of “health of the patient” to include (but not limited to) physical, emotional, psychological and familial health and age.

“This bill is a horrible contradiction of fundamental scientific truths and the work that I do every single day,” said Emily Kelly, a neonatal ICU nurse at a major Chicago hospital, according to Illinois Right to Life. “Under this law, every single one of my patients could be legally killed in utero in our state.”

Other provisions in the Reproductive Health Act include requiring private insurance companies to cover abortion with no exceptions for religious institutions explicitly made in the bill and allowing non-physicians, such as advanced practice registered nurses, to perform abortions.

Illinois Right to Life also argues that the new law eliminates licensing and health and safety inspections of abortion clinics and threatens the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which requires the parents of a minor to be notified 48 hours prior to having an abortion.

Gov. Pritzker said the new law is a “giant step forward for women’s health.”

"The Reproductive Health Act ensures that women's rights in Illinois do not hinge on the fate of Roe v. Wade, or the whims of an increasingly conservative Supreme Court. In this state, women will always have the right to reproductive health care," Pritzker stated.

Breen, meanwhile, believes the measure “sends it back to the dark ages” as it removes “all regulation and oversight.”

“The legacy of this governor, and any legislator who voted to pass this law, will be that of cruel dehumanization of unborn Illinoisans on a mass scale,” said Breen. “They will bear the legacy of thousands of late-term dismemberment abortions inflicted on perfectly healthy, viable children.”

Illinois’ new abortion law comes as more states are passing bills to either restrict abortion or codify a woman’s right to access abortion.

Early this year, New York signed into law a bill that not only decriminalized abortion but also allowed abortion after 24 weeks when necessary to protect the patient’s health. Pro-lifers have argued that the definition of a patient’s “health” is so broad that abortions would be allowed at any point in the pregnancy for essentially any reason.

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