SB 25: Here’s What the Abortion Bill Will Do

According to analysis of SB 25, the radical legislation maintains the core elements of the so-called Reproductive Health Act (HB 2495) and lays the ground work for the repeal of Illinois ParentalNotification (HB 2467).

SB 25 is a massive expansion of abortion “rights” bill that:

1) Creates a fundamental right to abortion.

SB 25 creates a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions to (among other things) have an abortion including late term abortions that trump all other State laws and policies “whether adopted before or after the effective date of this Act.” It prohibits all State actions that would “deny, restrict, interfere with or discriminate against an individual’s exercise of the fundamental rights set forth in this Act.” (pages 4-5)

2) Re-defines “fetal viability” and “health of the patient”.

A) The first new definition called “fetal viability” has a tougher standard for determining the viability of the unborn child than the current law.

According to the new definition, fetal viability means that, in the professional judgment of the attending health care professional, based on the particular facts of the case, there is a significant likelihood of a fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures [page 3]

The current definition of viability in the Illinois abortion law has a more reasonable standard for an unborn child to be determined viable. According to the current definition, viability means the stage of fetal development when, in the medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before him, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial support.

B) The second new definition called “health of the patient” is considered if the physician determines the unborn child is viable. However, this very broad new definition of “health of the patient” in SB 25 says that health of the patient “means all factors that are relevant to the patient’s health and well-being, including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, psychological, and familial health and age.” [page 3]

The house sponsor refused to define what “familial health” and “age” would mean in order for a physician to determine the health of the patient. How can the General Assembly know what they are voting on if the definitions are not explained?

3) Jeopardizes enforcement of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act.

SB 25 states that “The State shall not: (1) deny, restrict, interfere with, or discriminate against an individual’s exercise of the fundamental rights set forth in this Act…” Since proponents of SB 25 think that the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act “interferes” with a minor’s decision to have an abortion, this language would clearly provide opponents of this Act with a challenge to go to court to have the law stricken.

Page 7 of SB 25 says “This Act applies to all State laws…whether adopted before or after the effective date of this Act.” Note: The House sponsor says that SB 25 would not do this, but the legislative intent on the floor of the House and Senate do not always correct or clarify what the plain language of the bill states. It would have been very clear if they had put their floor statement in the bill itself – “SB 25 does not negate the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act.”

4) Would effectively eliminate licensing and health and safety inspections of abortion clinics. (p 59)

5) Forces all private insurance companies to cover abortion with no exception for churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions to get insurance plans that do not pay for abortions. (pages 66-67)

Note: The House and Senate sponsors said that the Health Care Right of Conscience Act would protect religious institutions, but legislative intent on the floor of the House and Senate do not always correct or clarify what the plain language of the bill states. It would have been very clear if they had put their floor statement in the bill itself – “SB 25 does allow for religious institutions and those businesses with stated religious objections to abortion to be exempt from insurance plans that cover abortions.”

6) Would now allow non-physicians (advanced practice registered nurses) to do chemical/medical abortions like the dangerous RU-486 for the first time in Illinois. (pages 97, 100)

7) Removes language with requirements for physicians if babies are born alive in abortion.

SB 25 removes the requirement that “No abortion shall be performed or induced when the fetus is viable unless there is in attendance a physician other than the physician performing or inducing the abortion who shall take control of and provide immediate medical care for any child born alive as a result of the abortion.” Also removed is the requirement for the physician to “utilize that method of abortion which, of those he knows to be available, is in his medical judgment most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus.” (by repeal of the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 – page 8)

8) Removes any independent rights of a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus under the laws of this Act. (page 5)

9) Removes the law prohibiting “referral fees” or kickbacks for abortion referrals. (repeal of the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 – page 8)

10) Removes the requirement for county coroners to investigate a “maternal or fetal death due to abortion” (page 50)