Much of the heat surrounding abortions often gets directed at Planned Parenthood, as they are a major provider of abortions. As crucial as this organization is in regards to women’s health rights, the complicated issue of abortions goes much higher up than this non-profit; women’s reproductive rights are a subject in the White House and Supreme Court. An example of this is HB40, a House Bill attempting to ensure the legality of abortions in Illinois even if the U.S. Supreme Court rolls back the protection of the 1976 ruling of Roe v. Wade. If you, like I, are not from Illinois, you might be thinking: Why does what happens in this midwestern state have to do with me? Lets get into that.
The primary opposer to HB40 is the Illinois Right to Life organization, claiming that if HB40 were enacted, the abortion rate would rise by 12,000 and that abortion spending by the state would be “limitless”. These claims are unfounded based on the fact that Illinois already permits abortions for those outside the state, simply ensuring that these rights would not be stripped if Roe v. Wade were rolled back. This bill is not attempting to gain more rights, but to protect the current reproductive rights women have in case the worst scenario occurs.
Under the current administration, one that claims they want to appoint “pro-life appointees” who want to overturn Roe v. Wade, the protection of abortion legality is something that applies to all states, not just Illinois. In the midwest, Illinois, according to a Chicago Business article, has become “an oasis” for neighboring states with stricter abortion laws. In a study by Planned Parenthood, they saw “a 20 percent spike in medical visits overall last year”, likely resulting from the surrounding states that have stricter laws, less clinics, and more societal pressure for abortions.
While the Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, has previously supported access to birth control and reproductive rights, his spokesperson now claims “However, recognizing the sharp divisions of opinion of taxpayer funding of abortion, he (Rauner) does not support HB40”. This is an extremely pivotal decision, based on the recent events of the current administration that signed legislation that “allows states to withhold federal dollars from organizations that provide abortions”. Before being elected as president, Trump claimed that once elected “laws on the legality or illegality of abortion would “go back to the individual states” to decide” which is the way abortion rights worked before Roe v. Wade.
This threat to abortion rights goes much higher up than simply Planned Parenthood, it reaches the states and administration that are in charge of making decisions like these. The reason why this issue concerns more than just Illinois women is the startling fact that in 13 other states, abortion would be immediately criminalized if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Though HB40 may seem distant to those outside the midwest, it should be used a precedent for future abortion access involving the potential, hopefully impossible, overturning of Roe v. Wade.