The Illinois Federation for Right to Life (an affiliate of National Right to Life) recently shared a series of fact sheets summarizing what everyone should know about the notorious Illinois Reproductive Health Act (RHA) enacted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in 2019. That act made Illinois one of the most extreme pro-abortion states in the nation.
Each fact sheet includes screenshots of the actual text of Illinois State laws and the changes made by the Reproductive Health Act. Also included is a list of how each Illinois legislator voted on the law. These seven fact sheets reveal that the abortion industry in Illinois has almost zero accountability now that the RHA is in place.
Fact 1: “Clinics Don’t Need to Notify the County Coroner if a Woman Dies During an Abortion”
Fact Sheet 1 reveals the shocking removal of the legal requirement that abortion facilities notify the local coroner if a woman dies during an abortion. Previously, Illinois State law required that the coroner be notified any time “[a] maternal or fetal death due to abortion, or any death due to a sex crime or a crime against nature” occurred. The RHA deleted the words “[a] maternal or fetal death due to abortion” and “crime against nature.”
The fact sheet summarizes that, according to the law, if a woman dies during an abortion, “[t]he abortion facility is no longer required to report that death to the county coroner. The abortion facility is no longer required to preserve the scene, or preserve any possible evidence of wrongdoing. In fact, the law would now seem to allow an abortion facility to destroy any such evidence at the scene, effectively covering up any evidence of a crime or any evidence of negligence on the part of the facility or the abortionist.”
Fact 2: ” Illinois Will No Longer Assure the Safety of Abortions”
Fact Sheet 2 sheds light on Illinois’ new legal abdication from providing safe care for women undergoing abortions. Illinois State law used to read, “the State has a legitimate interest in assuring that all medical procedures, including abortions, are performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety.”
That “legitimate interest” translated to “development, establishment, and enforcement of standards 1) for the care of individuals… and 2) for the construction, maintenance, and operation of ambulatory surgical treatment centers which… will promote adequate and safe treatment.”
The RHA removes the words “including abortions” from the text of Illinois State Law. Abortion facilities across the country have repeatedly failed basic safety inspections, sometimes egregiously so, and even after numerous grace periods and opportunities to improve. Instead of holding these facilities to established safety standards, the RHA simply removed the standards altogether.
Fact 3: “Abortion Facilities No Longer Need State ‘Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center’ Licenses”
Fact Sheet 3 reviews one of the RHA’s most well-known changes to state law: the removal of the commonsense safety requirement that abortions only take place at facilities that are regularly inspected by the state. Previously, the “Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Act” defined an ambulatory surgical treatment center as “… any facility in which a medical or surgical procedure is utilized to terminate a pregnancy, irrespective of whether the facility is devoted primarily to this purpose….” No longer. In fact, not only do abortion facilities no longer have to be licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers, but the RHA also specifically prohibits local municipalities from “licensing, regulating, or inspecting abortion facilities in their own communities.”
Fact 4: “Abortionists Could Potentially Provide ‘Abortion Care’ Wherever they Deem Acceptable”
Fact Sheet 4 highlights the removal of language specifying that abortions be provided in certain facilities, such as licensed Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Centers or hospitals. Judgment about the best location to provide abortion care is now left exclusively up to the physician or other healthcare professional providing it, who could potentially deem “their home, their vehicle, or even a ‘back alley'” an appropriate location without fear of violating the law.
Fact 5: “Abortionists Won’t be Disciplined for Performing ‘Abortions’ on Women Who Aren’t Pregnant”
Fact Sheet 5 reports that doctors are no longer subject to prosecution for knowingly and willfully committing an abortion on a woman who is not pregnant.
Fact 6: “The State of Illinois Can Hide Abortion Information and Statistics”
Fact Sheet 6 points out the contradiction between the language of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and the wording of the Reproductive Health Act. The Illinois FOIA specifically states that “all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government” and that “it is the public policy of the State of Illinois that access by all persons to public records promotes the transparency and accountability of public bodies.” And yet, the RHA specifically exempts “[i]nformation and records held by the Department of Public Health and its authorized representatives collected under the Reproductive Health Act” from FOIA requests.
The state still requires that reports—with any personally identifiable information removed—be submitted on every legal abortion in the state, but those statistics are no longer guaranteed to be available to the public.
Furthermore, the Act specifically mandates that records be destroyed two years after they are submitted.
Fact 7: “More Legal Inconsistency Regarding the Rights of Unborn Children”
Fact sheet 7 notes the glaring inconsistency between the language of the Reproductive Health Act and the Criminal Code of Illinois State Law. Under Section 9-1.2 of the Criminal Code, a person charged with the homicide of a preborn child due to voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, battery, or aggravated battery would be sentenced the same as someone who committed first-degree murder. However, the “Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child” section of the Reproductive Health Act specifically reads, “This Section shall not apply to acts which cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during an abortion…”
As the fact sheet stated, “Illinois State law continues the inconsistency of prohibiting the “homicide” of an ‘unborn child’… sometimes.”
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