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Illinois reaction to Supreme Court abortion decision

Joe Ravi

Reaction poured in Friday after the court's decision became public. Those on both sides of the abortion debate issued statements.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's campaign

Today, in a direct assault on the right to privacy and self determination, the United States Supreme Court confirmed our worst fears on Roe vs Wade. The Republican Party and the extremists they appointed to the Supreme Court have satisfied their goal. However, to women everywhere: abortion is still safe and legal in Illinois. 

Governor Pritzker enshrined the right to choose into state law in preparation for this very moment and we will not go backwards. Illinoisans overwhelmingly support a woman’s right to control her own future––and Governor Pritzker will fight like hell to protect those rights. 

Radical Republicans, including every GOP candidate for governor, want to dismantle the freedom to choose and take our state back to the dark ages. Their extreme policies would undo decades of progress and pose a clear threat to our most fundamental rights. 

The governor remains committed to defending against this dangerous backslide and refuses to accept a world where our children have fewer rights than we did. In Illinois, we trust women and we will always defend their right to choose.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

“Today’s decision eliminates a federally protected constitutional right that has been the law for nearly half a century. As a result, millions of Americans are waking up in a country where they have fewer rights than their parents and grandparents.

The bottom line: on critical, personal choices involving a woman’s right to make reproductive decisions about her own body, do you trust her or the government?  The Supreme Court now says a woman’s right to privacy does not extend to the most personal, private choice she will ever face.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will explore the grim reality of a post-Roe America in a hearing next month. The Court’s decision to erase the right to access an abortion will not only lead to the denial of critical health care services, but also criminal consequences for women and health care providers in states eager to embrace draconian restrictions.

I will keep fighting to enshrine into law a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. We cannot let our children inherit a nation that is less free and more dangerous than the one their parents grew up in.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield Catholic Diocese

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States marks an important moment for our nation, lifting a cloud that has hung over our country for nearly a half century. There is no way to undo the tragedy of tens of millions of innocent lives lost or the decades of division sown by the Roe v. Wade decision.

But, for the sake of future generations, we can now move forward with a more honest debate and efforts to advance policies and support programs that protect innocent life and promote stability and security for vulnerable mothers. Much work remains to be done on both fronts, and that work will now necessarily have more of a local focus, particularly in our own home state of Illinois.

Importantly, these efforts must include prayer and concerted efforts to preserve peace in the face of recent violence, intimidation, and criminal vandalism against churches and government officials.”

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon

“Today’s ruling is a distressing departure from five decades of precedent and a devastating blow to women around the country.
This decision turns the clock back to a time when women did not have autonomy over their own bodies and died trying to access health care.
Over the past few years, we took many steps in Illinois to affirm a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. As long as there is a Democratic majority in the Illinois State Senate, we will continue to protect those rights.”

Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch

“Today is a dark day in our nation’s history. Today, this Supreme Court told half of Americans they don’t have the right to make deeply personal health decisions without government interference. Today, half of Americans are losing their basic human rights and bodily autonomy. I’m grateful that in Illinois we’ve prepared for this day. Thanks to strong women and fierce advocates we have codified reproductive health care into law, and we will always trust women to make their own health decisions. Today our nation is taking an enormous step backward but, regardless of what any conservative judges say, in Illinois we will never waver in our fight to ensure every person has the right to safe, accessible reproductive care.”

Amy Gehrke, Executive Director Illinois Right To Life

Today, Illinois Right to Life joins millions of Americans in celebrating the end of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that has denied over 63 million preborn children their most fundamental right: life. With today’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, states have regained the ability to protect preborn children and their mothers.

Now, with today’s decision, pro-life citizens must work harder than ever to defend life in Illinois. The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is an incredible victory for our nation but here in Illinois, the work of pro-life advocates is just beginning. With the fundamental holdings of Roe v. Wade now struck down by the High Court, Illinois will soon be home to the nearest abortion provider for as many as 8.9 million reproductive-aged women from outside our state (Guttmacher Institute). It is very likely that Illinois’s abortion rate could increase by 20,000 - 30,000 annually.

Illinois Right to Life will continue working tirelessly to provide support to pregnancy resource centers across our state through our Project Love grant program. Since 1994, Project Love has awarded over half a million dollars in grants to help pregnant women and young families facing urgent financial crises choose life. We will also redouble our work to educate the people of Illinois about how radical our abortion laws are, the brutal realities of abortion, and the need to provide women with life-affirming alternatives to abortion.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has promised to make Illinois a "beacon of hope" for women when, in fact, he is making our state a haven for death. Abortion, which is always deadly to preborn children, is also incredibly dangerous for women and young girls in Illinois. Thanks to the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, abortion clinics regulate themselves and are not subject to state health inspections. In addition, coroners are not required to investigate women’s deaths at Illinois abortion clinics. Minor girls can obtain abortions without clinics even notifying a parent or guardian.

Our goal at Illinois Right to Life remains the same: To utilize education and support for women and young families to win Illinois for life.

Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-Oakland)

"A joyous victory for Life! The end of Roe is the beginning of a new chapter, where we embrace a culture of life with a reverence for all of God's children," Miller said. "I applaud President Trump, who delivered on his promise of a Court that would honor the Constitution and our sacred right to life. Please join me in praying for all the unborn victims of Roe v. Wade and for the women who have been deceived by the cruel abortion industry. I look forward to always defending life during my time in Congress, and I will never stop using my voice to speak out on behalf of those who have no voice."

Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville)

This is a historic and incredible day for Life and the unborn in America, a day that all of us in the pro-life movement have been praying for and working towards. The Supreme Court was absolutely right to overturn previous, wrongly-decided abortion decisions. Nothing in the Constitution confers the right to an abortion.

As a pro-life lawmaker with a 100 percent pro-life voting record, I have advocated for years that the Court overturn Roe.

Now that the Supreme Court has turned this issue over to the people’s elected representatives, our pro-life work continues. We must elect pro-life leaders at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure we advance pro-life policies and protect the unborn.

Nowhere is this more important than the State of Illinois, where J.B. Pritzker and Democrats in Springfield have advanced an extreme abortion expansion agenda that legalized taxpayer-funded, late-term abortions, and even restricted parents’ abilities to know if their minor child is seeking an abortion. This is an extreme abortion agenda that is out-of-step with the people of Illinois.

I will continue to work tirelessly to advance pro-life policies and protect the unborn in Washington and in Springfield.

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Peoria)

As a father of three and a Pro-Life advocate, I applaud the Supreme Court's decision in the Dobbs case, returning the question of abortion to the states and to the people. In Congress, I stood proudly with the growing Pro-Life movement to advocate for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, and this decision is a huge victory for the sanctity of life.

Democrats in Washington and Illinois, including President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Governor Pritzker have spent years seeking to undermine and delegitimize our independent judiciary. In the weeks since the unprecedented leak of Justice Alito's opinion, we have seen attacks on pro-family crisis pregnancy centers, disruptions of church services, and an assassination attempt on Justice Kavanaugh and his family. The Dobbs decision, in the face of violence, is a win for our independent judiciary and the Constitution.

Governor Pritzker continues to push his radical abortion agenda in Illinois, which includes late-term and taxpayer-funded abortion, restrictions on conscience protections, and limits on parental involvement. The Governor's policies are widely outside the mainstream. I will continue to lend a voice to the voiceless and push to enact Pro-Life protections that uphold the sanctity of life and support mothers and families.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul

“I am extremely disappointed with today’s Supreme Court decision, which jeopardizes the health, the safety and the lives of millions of women in the United States – especially those who already have the least access to health care and other resources. This single decision rolls back 50 years of court precedent and with it, decades of progress toward reproductive autonomy. Contrary to the rhetoric used by some, make no mistake: This decision will not end abortion. What it will do is end access to safe abortions for many women throughout the country.

“In anticipation of the court’s decision, dozens of states have taken draconian steps to restrict access to or criminalize abortion. While some women living in those states could decide to seek legal abortions in other states like Illinois, the option of traveling great distances for potentially lifesaving abortion care may not be available to low-income women or victims of abuse. By revoking a woman’s right to reproductive choice, the court now leaves too many women faced with making unimaginable decisions.

“As I assured Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday at a White House roundtable on reproductive health, Illinois has been and will continue to be a proud reproductive health care oasis where women have the right to make their own highly-personal reproductive health decisions with their families and medical professionals. In light of today’s decision, I encourage people to review guidance my office issued to ensure reproductive rights are protected in Illinois, and I am reminding law enforcement that abortion is legal in Illinois – regardless of today’s decision.

“As we prepare for an influx of women from neighboring states to seek abortion services in Illinois, my office is actively working with the governor’s office and Legislature to address concerns triggered by the court’s decision. Specifically, we must expand safeguards under state law to ensure that women and providers are protected from those who would use this decision to obstruct access to abortion care.

“Today is a sad day in the history of the Supreme Court and our nation. However, this wrong-sided decision does nothing to alter my commitment to enforcing the reproductive health protections already enshrined in Illinois law, working with Illinois policymakers to expand protections under state law, and continuing to urge Congress to codify reproductive health care rights in federal law.”

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza

“Women's reproductive rights today were stripped and shaken to the core. This is a ruling of seismic proportions. Women today will have fewer rights to reproductive healthcare decisions than their grandmothers did. Women across the country will still need access to this crucial healthcare service. Women will be less safe. For those who can make it to our state, Illinois will be there for them. Now more than ever, we must continue to strengthen laws that protect women's rights to reproductive healthcare access in Illinois.”

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs

“Five people I never met decided they will make health decision for my school-aged daughter, not me. Years from now, when my daughter is an adult, she will not be able to decide what happens with her body because five people she never met determined they know best.

“Today, the doctors and nurses and friends who participate in a woman’s decision could face criminal charges for doing nothing more than delivering their professional opinion, providing their expert care, and offering a supportive role."

“As the father of a teenage daughter, I am furious with the hypocritical politicians who seek to control her body and have decided that she, and every other woman in my life, and in our country, are incapable of making decisions about their own body.”

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton

I am angry but unafraid. Today, and every day, I will continue fighting for a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. I am disappointed but determined. Although we have known for weeks that our right to bodily autonomy can be a matter of debate, and can be taken away with a single decision, we cannot avoid the deep ache caused by this ruling. It is a dark day for our country.

I ache for the women across the nation who fear for what comes next. I ache for my daughters, who are losing a constitutional right that was afforded to their mother. I ache for the lives—the lives of BIPOC women, in particular—that this decision has put at risk.

The road ahead is hard and treacherous, but raising our voices is now more important than ever. Those who want to restrict our freedoms and strip away our rights may call today a victory, but tomorrow and every day we will be at the frontlines to push back.

To everyone affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, you are not alone in the journey ahead. We stand with the activists, organizers, and community members across the country in the fight for bodily autonomy, and we will continue to ensure that Illinois will always be a bulwark in that fight.

Aurora Mayor and Republican candidate for governor Richard Irvin

As a pro-life Republican, I will continue to fight for every parent’s right to know if a minor child is having an abortion - a right JB Pritzker has outrageously taken away. With Democratic majorities in the Illinois General Assembly, this Supreme Court ruling will have no effect on the law in our state.

Republican candidate for governor Gary Rabine

“I am and have always been unapologetically pro-life and today’s victory in the United States Supreme Court represents a huge win for the protection of life across the country. Unfortunately, under JB Pritzker, Illinois is the most pro-abortion state in the nation where children can get abortions without their parents being notified. If we do not remove JB Pritzker as governor, Illinois will continue to be an abortion oasis. I am the only republican candidate that can beat JB Pritzker and as your governor, I will follow the lead of the United State Supreme Court and ensure that abortion is never legal in Illinois.”

Illinois State Senator and Republican candidate for governor Darren Bailey

Today’s Supreme Court decision is a historic and welcomed moment. Unfortunately, billionaire JB Pritzker is an abortion extremist out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Illinoisans. He continues to push a radical agenda from taxpayer-funded abortion, late-term elective abortions and removing parental notification. The fact JB Pritzker advocated for and signed legislation to allow a 12-year-old to get an abortion without their parents knowing is egregious. As I have consistently stated for several months, as Governor, I will work to remove taxpayer-funded abortion and restore parental notification in Illinois. I will also work with the legislature, civic groups, and nonprofits to support women during and after pregnancy, to make adoption easier, and abortion unnecessary.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy

“Today, millions of prayers have been answered. Abortion is a very difficult and controversial topic in which real lives - of both mothers and babies - are deeply affected. Because of this monumental ruling, the regulation of abortion is now being left to individual states as it should be. I support our state party platform that values the dignity of all life, from conception to natural death, and applaud the six Supreme Court Justices who had the courage to be real judges instead of judicial legislators. Judges should interpret the law, not make law.

Our country is deeply divided right now, and while I support this decision, I know this ruling will potentially make that division worse, at least in the short term, and many irresponsible people will stoke that division. I implore all Illinoisans to express their opinions with respect, civility, and without violence.”

Illinois Senate GOP Leader Dan McConchie

“Let me be clear, Governor Pritzker and many Illinois Democrats want to push Illinois to the utter extreme on abortion policy. Right now, Illinoisans can already get an abortion in all nine months of pregnancy for any reason and use taxpayer dollars to pay for it. But that's not enough. Now, they want us to help pay for out-of-state residents to travel to Illinois to receive abortions and even allow non-physicians here to perform them.

“This is clearly not what mainstream Illinoisans want. While the Governor is calling a special session to act on these and potentially other extreme measures, Illinoisans are trying to deal with soaring gas prices and massive grocery bills that are leaving families hopeless. Instead of dealing with these vital issues, Pritzker is embracing an extreme agenda that will make Illinois an outlier even amongst the most liberal states.”

Bishop Ronald Hicks of the Joliet Diocese

Today’s decision is an answer to decades of prayer and upholds the protection of the most innocent of all human life – the child in the mother’s womb – which has long been a tenet of Catholic social teaching. I celebrate this ruling yet mourn the fact that here, in our home state of Illinois, it will have no immediate impact given the state’s 2019 enshrinement into law of abortion as a misguided fundamental right. Perhaps the court’s ruling and recent public conversations, coupled with our own prayers, will stir within the hearts, minds and souls of our elected political leaders a greater respect for the beauty and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. I ask that you join me in earnest and fervent prayer for not only the conversion of those in civic leadership, but for those in our own homes, families and communities who need the light of Christ to see clearly how all are made in the image and likeness of God.

I also ask that you support Walking with Moms in Need, an initiative of the U.S. bishops to aid and encourage women facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies. Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has urged us to embrace the “culture of encounter” by pausing, meeting with, and accompanying those in need on their journey. What is a more promising example of such an encounter than expectant and new moms and their babies?

Finally, I implore all to receive today’s ruling with peace toward their neighbors and animus toward none. We are all called to see the face of God in our neighbor, regardless of any strong disagreements on issues as significant as the sanctity of life. As a missionary people seeking to draw others into an encounter with the risen Lord, how we react to the court’s ruling or any other matter of political, moral or social concern can leave a lasting impression upon others as to what it means to follow Christ. We must always speak the truth in charity and be willing to accompany one another in patience, humility and gentleness. Through the peace we extend others, the goodness of our God will surely shine through.

Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association President Kristina Zahorik

“Today is a sad day for our country. Conservative and religious extremists have been plotting for years to strip away women’s healthcare rights and bodily autonomy. They played dirty by blocking then President Obama’s Supreme Court choice and packed the court. The extremists have put the health of millions of women and their families at risk and put other issues of privacy into question. Thankfully, Illinois continues to be a beacon of hope because our Democratic leadership passed common sense legislation protecting women’s rights. But, having piecemeal legislation across this country, on issues of bodily anatomy does not make us a great nation. The IDCCA will continue the fight at the ballot box.”

Jesse Reising, Republican candidate for 13th Cong. District

“Unborn children are among the most vulnerable members of our society and deserve our protection. As someone who has dedicated their career to upholding the law, I firmly believe that there is no constitutional right to abortion and agree with the court’s decision today. Unelected judges should not be setting abortion policy. This returns that decision to the people to make through their democratically elected representatives.

Illinois still permits late-term abortions on demand for any reason at taxpayer expense. Not only that, but minors are able to obtain an abortion in Illinois without notifying a parent. This is out of line with what the majority of voters in Illinois believe. In Congress, I will be a strong advocate for pro-life policies at every stage of life.”

Terry Martin, Republican candidate for 13th Cong. District

As a candidate for Congress, I support protecting the life of the mother, and having rape or incest be reasons where an abortion can be performed. But we are not true to our American values of protecting human life, when we allow abortion on demand, which so many supporters of Roe demand.

The Roe v Wade decision of 1973 was never accepted by millions in our nation, who not only opposed the killing of babies in the womb, but were outraged to have a nationwide mandate from the Supreme Court, which removed the right of citizens to have an impact on abortion law. The Supreme Court made a decision mandating abortion to be legal across the nation, ignoring the local values of a state or region, ignoring in many cases the religious freedoms of organizations, which opposed abortions.

Now, voters in every state can vote to support or oppose those seeking election to a legislature or running for Governor, on the issue of abortion. And so, democracy is made stronger by returning the power to control abortion access to the citizens within the state where they reside. Our whole foundation of freedom in the American Republic is that the power rests with the PEOPLE, through their elected representatives.

We must further recognize that when Roe was decided in 1973, there was no internet, no cell phones, and NO ability to have images of an infant in the womb. Our medical doctors did not have the ability to operate on an infant within the womb, which they now have. Based on medical science of 1973, an infant in the womb was not recognized as a human life until it had grown for 16 weeks (four months). Now, a developing baby is recognized as a living human life at 12 weeks, or just 3 months.

Maintaining Roe was not just wrong on denying the ability of citizens to vote their conscience on the abortion issue, it was also wrong to lock into law a medical procedure which ignores the evolution of medical science to treat infants before birth, to keep premature babies alive at an earlier period of development, and in keeping Roe, we would ignore the evolution of birth control over the last 50 years. Surely with we should come together to reduce abortions by all sides calling on personal responsibility as one part of this emotional issue.

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery

“As a union composed of more than 70 percent female members, we strongly condemn this radical decision and are deeply concerned about its implications for women and pregnant people.

“In this country, all women and pregnant people must be free to make their own decisions about their bodies. It is a fundamental right. Today’s decision will harm all, but there is no doubt that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), Latinx, and the economically disadvantaged – already marginalized groups – will suffer most. We cannot allow this radical conservative legal effort to erode all Americans’ rights and further marginalize society’s most vulnerable. And we will not go back to a time when abortions led to deaths for too many women.

“For many years, our elected IFT convention delegates have passed strong resolutions supporting reproductive and abortion rights. The IFT will continue to work in Illinois to ensure that women and pregnant people have the power to make their own healthcare decisions. We are thankful for Governor Pritzker’s staunch advocacy on this issue; we know he believes, as we do, that reproductive rights are human rights and should be an individual’s choice.”

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