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Illinois Gov. Pritzker calls for special session after Supreme Court overturns Roe

·3 min read

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Gov. JB Pritzker is calling for a special session of the Illinois General Assembly to further affirm reproductive rights statewide.

Shortly after the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Pritzker said that he would call members of the legislature back for the special session, with support from House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon.

Specifics about when the session would take place are scarce, but Pritzker said that he was committed to taking action to protect abortion and other reproductive rights across the state.

"In Illinois, we are a state committed to expanding access to reproductive health care including abortion care, contraception access, fertility treatment and gender affirming care," Pritzker said. "We've made it clear that we trust people to make the best decisions for themselves about their own reproductive health."

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Even though the court made the decision to overturn the existing precedent, Pritzker said prior action by the General Assembly provides women in Illinois with access to reproductive health care that they may not have in other states.

"We've planned for this terrible day, an enormous step backward and a shattering loss of rights," Pritzker said. "We passed the Reproductive Health Act, enshrining choice as the law of the land in Illinois. We removed the trigger law that would have prohibited abortion in Illinois with the overturning of Roe v Wade. We expanded health care so that finances are not a barrier to receiving reproductive care.

"Despite the action of the Supreme Court today overturning Roe v. Wade, the right to safe, accessible reproductive health care is in full force in Illinois - and will remain so."

State Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, said Pritzker was using the special session as "a campaign tactic in the general election to scare voters. It's very disturbing."

With gas at $5 per gallon and with the threats of rolling blackouts from utilities across the state, Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield said Pritzker's call for a special session was "ridiculous."

Illinois state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, talks about Springfield's Dallman coal-fired power station during debate on Senate Bill 2408, a comprehensive energy proposal, on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives at the state Capitol on Sept. 9, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]
Illinois state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, talks about Springfield's Dallman coal-fired power station during debate on Senate Bill 2408, a comprehensive energy proposal, on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives at the state Capitol on Sept. 9, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

"Illinois is now an abortion haven with the laws the governor has passed and now he wants to do more," said Butler, who is pro-life. "It speaks volumes about where his priorities are."

Brigid Leahy, vice president for public policy for Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, said Pritzker and most members of the General Assembly have been leaders in making sure abortion rights are protected in the state.

"Now it's time to look at where we need to build our capacity in order to make sure people have access (to abortion)," Leahy said.

Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, speaks on the Senate floor on April 8.
Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, speaks on the Senate floor on April 8.

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Illinois Right to Life assistant communication director Savannah Dudzik said the group was hoping that Pritzker would have a change of heart about the special session and that he will realize "women and children need to be protected in Illinois.

"Illinois abortion clinics have fewer restrictions than hair salons, tanning beds and nail salons," contended Dudzik, who is in Chicago. "There's also no need for parental notification as of June 1. If a minor girl wants to get an abortion, her parents don't even need to be notified, which is extremely dangerous for parents and their children."

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Belvidere, called the special session "total politics" and "a huge cost to taxpayers."

"A special session is about $150,000 a day of taxpayer money," pointed out Syverson. "They want to do a little dog pony show to pass something that says that Illinois is going to keep doing what it’s currently doing. It’s political, and it’s disappointing because we are wasting money.

Illinois Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Belvidere, speaks during a news conference celebrating the passage of legislation that includes a Rockford casino on Monday, July 1, 2019, at Rockford Indoor City Market. Mayor Tom McNamara and others said Syverson was instrumental in working with Republican lawmakers to get the bill passed.
Illinois Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Belvidere, speaks during a news conference celebrating the passage of legislation that includes a Rockford casino on Monday, July 1, 2019, at Rockford Indoor City Market. Mayor Tom McNamara and others said Syverson was instrumental in working with Republican lawmakers to get the bill passed.

"There is clearly no need for a special session."

Contact Zach Roth: (217) 899-4338; ZDRoth@gannett.com; @ZacharyRoth13. Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, sspearie@sj-r.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Roe v Wade: Pritzker calls for session after SCOTUS abortion ruling