Illinois leaders postpone special session on reproductive rights

know about Illinois leaders postpone special session on reproductive rights

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CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker and Democratic leaders in the Illinois General Assembly are delaying a planned special legislative session aimed at increasing legal protections for abortion providers and patients in Illinois.

Pritzker, Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park, and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside issued a joint statement Tuesday saying they would call lawmakers to Springfield.” in the coming months” to work on strengthening a state’s already formidable abortion protections. where the procedure is enshrined in the law as a “fundamental right”.

Just two weeks ago, the three Democrats had said they planned to hold a special session after the US Supreme Court reversed the landmark Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the right to obtain an abortion with minimal interference from the government. One of the goals of the special session is also to make sure Illinois is prepared for an increased influx of people from out of state crossing into Illinois to terminate a pregnancy, Pritzker said.

When the high court overruled Roe in a June 24 ruling, Pritzker said he and legislative leaders would convene a special session “in the coming weeks” and were “committed to taking swift action to further enshrine our commitment to human rights.” and reproductive health care. protections.” Welch added that he expected the session to take place in July.

“As we build on Illinois’ nation-leading abortion protections and access, it is essential to bring lawmakers and advocates into the room to continue working together,” the trio said Tuesday in their joint statement. “In the coming weeks, as ripples from the decision to overturn Roe are felt across the country, we hope to have a clear picture of our needs and how Illinois can play an even more vital role in upholding reproductive freedom. ”.

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A day after a mass shooting at the Highland Park 4th of July parade that left at least six dead and two dozen wounded, Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said there had been no discussion of adding gun safety measures. to the agenda of the special session.

As for taking more time before convening lawmakers on abortion, “we need to see how this is already affecting states and how it will affect states in the next couple of months,” Abudayyeh said.

During a White House call with Democratic governors on Friday, Pritzker called for additional federal funds to help states where abortion remains legal.

The first-term Democrat has made his support for abortion rights a central theme of his re-election campaign. In the November general election, he is up against Conservative state senator Darren Bailey of Xenia, who has said he is opposed to abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother.

Ed Yohnka, a spokesman for the ACLU of Illinois, said the organization supported the delay as a “careful and deliberate approach” and that the goal of the special session is “to establish protections that are holistic, well-researched, that include the voices of providers and advocates and can withstand the inevitable challenge from Illinois’ anti-abortion foes.”

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