Prior to the start of the new legislative session on January 11, the 102nd Illinois General Assembly is making the most of its lame-duck status and pro-choice majority to push through new laws that will expand abortion options in the state.
House Bill 4664, whose chief sponsor was Rep. Kelly Cassidy (Chicago), would allow advanced practice registered nurses and physicians assistants to perform non-anesthesia abortions. It would also allow health care providers to retain their Illinois medical licenses despite having their licenses revoked in another state for performing a procedure that is legal in Illinois.
Cassidy said such a law is necessary because it would “protect patients and providers from undue interference from hostile states.” Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, 14 states have made most abortions illegal. They include Illinois border states Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
HB 4664 was passed 67-41 with one Democrat, Rep. Sue Scherer (Decatur), voting against it. The bill moved to the Senate as Senate Bill 1534 where lawmakers are debating multiple amendments. Some include actions that would require all health insurance policy drug benefits include medications “used to terminate a pregnancy” with or without proof of pregnancy. The actions also require drug policy benefits include “gender-affirming health care medication.” Another action would provide emergency contraception on all state public university campuses.
Illinois Right to Life’s Molly Malone Rumley testified against the bill before the Senate Executive Committee Monday, January 9. According to the Center Square, Rumley told the committee, “One of the major problems we see with this bill is it allows nondoctors to perform surgical abortions. This is not in the best interest of women. If such surgeries are to be done, they should be done in a manner with physicians who are trained to do this, and that is safe for the women.”
If it is to pass, lawmakers must vote on it before the close of business January 10. The 103rd General Assembly begins January 11 and all unfinished legislation from the previous two years will expire.