Legislation on Life Issues in Illinois

Most people view Illinois as a radically pro-abortion state due to the abortion industry’s recent legislative victories. However, those efforts merely eliminated the laws that the pro-life movement successfully passed over the course of the last 40+ years. So, while our state is in a bad spot today, there is much precedent and much reason for confidence that Illinois can once again become a pro-life state.

A short timeline of pro-life laws passed and enacted in Illinois: 

1975 – The Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 (HB 1851) was the first pro-life bill introduced and replaced the 1973 abortion law, which provided no protection for the unborn child or woman.  This bill required spousal consent, parental consent for minors, protections for viable unborn children, prohibition of saline abortions, a preamble that stated that the State of Illinois recognizes the unborn child as a person, and more. Gov. Dan Walker vetoed the bill and the General Assembly overrode the veto.

1977 – HB 333 banned Medicaid funds for abortions, with life exception. Gov. James Thompson vetoed the bill and the General Assembly overrode the veto.  This Law went up to The U.S. Supreme Court and it was upheld as constitutional in June 1980. 

1978 – HB 2428 required that state employees’ insurance policies will not pay for abortions, except for life of the mother. Gov. Thompson vetoed this bill and the General Assembly overrode the veto.

1979 – SB 47 amended the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 to require specific informed consent to be given to the woman and a 24-hour waiting period, bans fetal experimentation on infants aborted alive, requires the physician to inform the woman of analgesics and anesthetics available to alleviate pain caused by the abortion to the fetus, proscribes referral fees and kickbacks for abortion referrals, and more. Gov. Thompson vetoed the bill and the General Assembly overrode the veto. 

1981 – SB 915 amended the homicide code to establish penalties for a person, who with intent to do harm to an unborn child or his/her mother causes the death or injury of that unborn child. Gov. Thompson vetoed SB 915 and the Senate failed to override the veto by one vote.

1985 – SB 887 allowed the father of a viable unborn child whose wife is seeking an abortion for other than life or physical health to seek a court injunction against the abortion. Gov. Thompson vetoed SB 887 and the General Assembly overrode the veto.

1986 – SB 1942 amended the criminal code to create the offenses of intentional homicide, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, battery and aggravated battery of an unborn child (in other than the abortion situation).  Signed into law as the Feticide Act and upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.

1995 – HB 955, a watered down “Parental Notice Act”, was forced by the Republican Speaker of the Illinois House to be weakened so that pro-abortion Republican women could vote for it.  It was very weak on penalty and added grandparents living anywhere in the world as those who could be notified instead of parent or guardian.  A real Parental Notice bill was alive and moving in SB 836.  HB 955 passed into law in June 1995, but was enjoined by a federal court due to the refusal of the Illinois Supreme Court to promulgate rules and regulations for expedited appeal and confidentiality procedures. In 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court finally permitted the law to go into effect.

1997 – HB 382 banned partial-birth abortions, except if necessary to prevent the woman’s death.  It contains a Class 4 felony penalty for violation of the law. It passed both houses. Gov. Jim Edgar amendatorily vetoed it but both houses accepted the amendatory veto and the bill was certified into law by the governor. 

2001 – SB 1095 recognized that “every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive” is a “person” and “human being”.  This bill passed the Senate, but was held in a House committee.

2005 – HB 984 amended the Statute on Statutes.  Defines the term “person”, , “human being” “child”, and “individual” to include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.  Tracks the federal law known as “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002″ to deal with hospitals that abort babies alive and do not treat them as persons. Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed bill into law 8/12/05.

2017 – HB 40 removed the longstanding ban on taxpayer Medicaid funds for abortion and the ban on state employees coverage of abortions   Also, removed the so-called “trigger language” in the preamble to the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 which was to reinstate the abortion law in effect when Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down all state laws on abortion. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed bill and it became law.  

2019 – The Reproductive Health Act (SB 25) wiped away all remaining pro-life laws (other than the Parental Notice of Abortion Act) and explicitly denied rights to preborn humans. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed bill and it became law.  

2021 – HB 370 repealed the Parental Notice of Abortion Act so abortion doctors can perform abortions on preteen girls without notifying their parents or guardians. HB 370 was passed during the October, 2021 Veto Session.