SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- The Illinois House has endorsed expanded abortion protections as a half-dozen other states strive to restrict the procedure.
State Representative Kelly Cassidy's (D-Chicago) Reproductive Health Act was approved 64-50 Monday.
The new bill would remove restrictions on both abortions later in pregnancy and criminal penalties for physicians that perform them.
Repealing both the state's Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975.
It also would expand insurance coverage for procedures and contraception.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker approved the bill's passage and sent words of support to women in the state.
"As a lifelong advocate of a woman's right to choose, I applaud the House for passing the Reproductive Healthcare Act and urge the Senate to take swift action on this critical piece of legislation," said Pritzker. "With reproductive healthcare under attack across the country, we must do everything in our power to protect women's rights in Illinois. I thank the chief sponsor, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, for her steadfast resolve in advocating for women across the state and country by carrying this bill. Today was a major step forward for every woman in this state and I look forward continuing my work as an ally by signing the Reproductive Healthcare Act into law."
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Cassidy repeatedly maintained that the measure simply codifies existing practice.
She says restrictions in other states will become tests for a U.S. Supreme Court with two recent appointees who oppose the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing abortion.
Cassidy repeatedly maintained that the measure simply codifies existing practice. She says restrictions in other states will become tests for a U.S. Supreme Court with two recent appointees who oppose the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing abortion.
"The RHA responds to this threat by recognizing reproductive health care as a fundamental right, and by removing outdated, long-blocked statutes that make many forms of abortion care and contraceptives a crime," said Colleen Connell, Executive Director of ACLU Illinois.
Republicans strenuously objected.
Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) called the plan a "broad expansion" of abortion and would make late-term abortions widely available despite the viability of a fetus outside the womb.
The bill moves to the Senate.
"This vote is a huge step for ensuring abortion is treated as health care in Illinois law. We are hopeful the Illinois Senate will follow the House's lead and move this bill quickly, because time is running out with this year's legislative session draws to a close," said Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its spring session on Friday.
AP and ABC7 Chicago contributed to this reporting.