While Illinois Baptists celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, they were quickly reminded of the challenges ahead to making Illinois a pro-life state when Governor JB Pritzker announced plans to call the Illinois General Assembly back into session to “further enshrine our commitment to reproductive health rights.”
Following the June 24 decision, the Illinois governor held a press conference surrounded by elected state leaders where he stressed, “The majority of people in the state of Illinois are pro-choice.” For proof, Pritzker cited the election of “pro-choice legislators and leaders statewide” and the “pro-choice” laws they’ve enacted.
But a new poll of Illinois voters shows they may not be as “progressive” on the issues as purported.
According to a poll taken by Chicago-based Ogden & Fry, Illinois voters differ on what makes them pro-choice or pro-life and on what if any limits there should be on abortion. FOX Chicago reported the poll found 22% of Illinois voters favor no restrictions on abortion, calling themselves 100% pro-choice, while 40% say they pro-choice but support some limits, 24% say they are pro-life with some limits, and 14% say they are 100% pro-life, with no limits.
The Court’s ruling took the issue of abortion from the federal government and returned it to the states for the people to decide. Illinoisans never voted directly on issues relating to abortion but did vote for candidates supporting lax or no abortion regulations.
When asked about allowing limits on abortion, in addition to the 22% who favored no limits at all, 26% said they favored up to 20 weeks gestation, 18% said up to 12 weeks, 16% said up to 6 weeks, and 17% said never, even if a mother’s life were in danger.
These views on a timetable for acceptable abortions stand in contrast with the Illinois Reproductive Health Act passed in 2019, which sets as its standard for abortion as up until viability. However, it does allow, at the medical provider’s discretion, for abortions to be performed up until to birth if the mother’s health is in distress.
The Act defines health as including not only the patient’s physical condition, but emotional and psychological conditions as well. But there are no other legal standards or regulations in place to serve as a guide for that determination making abortion in Illinois legal up until birth, which is only supported by 22% of the survey’s respondents.
The laws in Illinois don’t only pertain to limits on the time frame for abortion, but also funding and notification. Here, the survey found widespread disagreement between voters and laws enacted by politicians.
The survey found most Illinoisans, by a wide margin, do not support taxpayer funding of abortions: 56% said no, 28% yes, and 17% unsure. The Reproductive Health Act requires all public and private health insurance plans to cover abortion in addition to pregnancy-related care. This includes state Medicaid which is taxpayer funded.
The survey found another difference in opinion relating to parental notification. On June 1, the Parental Notification Law, which required the parent or legal guardian of a minor under 18 be notified only prior to her undergoing an abortion, was repealed after an action by the General Assembly and approved by the governor. Ogden & Fry survey found 78% of the state’s voters favored abortion notification, not permission, which the now defunct law did.
As pro-life activists celebrated the life-saving decision, Pritzker called the High Court’s action “one of the worst things that has happened in our lifetimes.”
The survey was taken by Matt Podgorski, the firm’s owner who is also a Republican candidate for the Cook County Board. His firm did not receive a commission for conducting the poll.