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Dems Move Abortion Bill Late Sunday Night

Kelly Cassidy testifies with Dr. Tabatha Wells of Planned Parenthood and Colleen Connell of the ACLU of Illinois
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, center, testifies in favor of her abortion-rights legislation. She was supported by Dr. Tabatha Wells, left, a family medicine specialist affiliated with Planned Parenthood, and Colleen Connell, right, with the ACLU of Illinois.

Late Sunday night, Illinois Democrats advanced legislation meant to protect abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade is overturned.

It would require insurance companies to cover abortions as part of pregnancy-related care and prevent abortion providers from being criminally charged, including for late-term abortions when medically necessary.

Sponsoring state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Democrat from Chicago, said it’s about trusting women and their doctors to make the best choice for their health and lifestyle.

“My abortion was medically necessary,” Cassidy told her colleagues. “It saved my life. It preserved my fertility. It allowed for the creation of my family, my children, who are my world.”

Republicans objected to both the substance of the legislation and the timing of the committee hearing.

sign that says a legislative hearing is scheduled to begin at 7:08 p.m.
Credit Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois
NPR Illinois
Legislative hearings are not typically scheduled for 7:08 p.m. on Sundays.

State Rep. Terri Bryant, a Republican from Murphysboro, said she was not supposed to be at the Capitol Sunday, but rushed in when she found out about the vote.

“Senate Bill 25 was hijacked in order to make sure this was heard on a Sunday night, on a holiday weekend, at the ninth hour, in what I would really consider secrecy,” Bryant said.

Democrats argue the plan has been public for months. But the hearing was scheduled with just an hour’s notice.

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