Illinois action blog

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Attacks on Women's Health and Access in Illinois

You may have thought Congress' current attack on women's health care was outrageous.  Well, get ready because anti-choice legislation has now made it's way to the Illinois legislature as well.  A handful of dangerous bills were recently introduced in the Illinois House.

One such bill, HB 1919, requires that prior to performing an abortion, a physician must offer to perform an ultrasound and allow the patient to view it if she chooses (by the way, Planned Parenthood of Illinois already performs ultrasounds prior to every abortion and offers the patient the opportunity to view it).  The bill also requires that a patient wait at least one full hour between the ultrasound and the abortion procedure. There is no medical need for this wait. Instead, the bill is designed to make abortions more difficult, complicated, and time-consuming for medical providers and patients.

Another bill, HR 2093, singles out reproductive health organizations and places further mandates on child abuse reporting requirements. Illinois already imposes important and rigorous reporting requirements on all licensed health care providers, educators, etc. Singling out reproductive health providers is not necessary to ensure the safety of Illinois minors.

PPIL takes seriously its ethical and legal obligations to report child abuse. We support requiring our professional staff to be mandated reporters.  However, this bill does not expand requirements to organizations that provide services to sexually active or pregnant minors (such as adoption agencies or Crisis Pregnancy centers) if their services do not include sexual education, contraception, abortion, or gynecology.  Therefore, we know that Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide these services are being singled out based on the type of services they provide, not because of genuine child sex trafficking concerns.

What is more appalling is that these bills were assigned to the Agriculture Committee, of all places.  The House members who sit on this committee do not possess any expertise allowing them to make informed decisions on women's health care.  In a recent article by the Better Government Association, Pam Sutherland, PPIL's Vice President for Public Policy, pointed out that the decision is "like sending a hog-farming bill to the public health committee."  The hidden agenda?  These bills have been placed where they have the best chance of passing out of committee, not where they are best-suited based on subject matter. 

This tactic shouldn't be tolerated by a public that demands fairness of their government. It's obvious that this under-handed move is simply another way anti-choice lawmakers (and anti-choice groups) are attempting to target Planned Parenthood and the thousands of women who rely on our services.  And apparently they think the public isn't paying attention.  Call the members of the Agriculture Committee and tell them to vote NO on HB 1919 and HB 2093. 

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, health care


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