SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State lawmakers want to go one step further to protect abortion access in Illinois with a constitutional amendment. They want it to stay safe no matter who’s in office.
“We are supportive of state lawmakers taking any action that works to protect Planned Parenthood of Illinois patients, and makes sure that there’s reproductive rights and access to abortion care throughout the state of Illinois” Rianne Hawkins, the director of advocacy and campaigns for Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, said.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Illinois became a safe haven for abortion access.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois went from seeing dozens of out of state patients a month to hundreds. Before, they saw patients from 15 different states. After Roe, that number has nearly doubled to 31 with patients coming from as far as Texas.
“Making sure that Illinois remains that safe haven for abortion care is priority number one on our list for Planned Parenthood Illinois Action,” Hawkins said.
Amy Gehrke, the executive director of Illinois Right to Life, said the state already has extreme abortion laws.
“This is just another step by the abortion industry to protect their profits and enshrine Illinois as a haven of abortion extremism,” Gehrke said.
Hawkins said the midterm elections show how important abortion rights are to voters.
She said having an amendment would keep those rights safe for future elections.
“Abortion rights are only one election, one bad election away from being taken away here in the state of Illinois, so enshrining that right, within the state Constitution just provides that additional layer to make sure that Illinois remains a haven state when it comes to abortion access,” Hawkins said.
The earliest an amendment could be on the ballot is 2024. Gehrke said if a constitutional amendment were up for a vote, Illinois Right to Life would oppose it.
“Anything that would enshrine this danger into our Constitution, anything that would further threaten women and babies, we would of course, be opposed to,” Gehrke said.