By Amy Gehrke, Executive Director
On Thursday, January 21, I was happy to host four of Illinois’s top pro-life leaders for our “Future of Illinois Politics” webinar. This was a comprehensive, hour-long discussion of anti-life bills that will likely be introduced this session as well as what we can expect under a Biden administration in regards to the life issues.. Among the speakers were Jeanne Ives, former State Representative of Illinois’s 47th District and U.S. Congressional candidate, as well as Ralph Rivera and Molly Malone, chairman and assistant chairman of Illinois Right to Life Action. Dr. Steve Jacobs, Illinois Right to Life program director, moderated the discussion.
The following bills were introduced during the 101st General Assembly, however they will likely be re-introduced in this current session:
The “REACH Act”
Last session four bills were introduced that would have expanded sex education in Illinois to children as young as five. The “REACH Act” (Responsible Education for Adolescent and Children’s Health) was the proposal most favored by Planned Parenthood. There was nothing responsible about it. This law would have mandated that schoolteachers promote abortion in the classroom without using “stigmatizing” language about the dangers it poses or what the procedure actually entails. Because this act would give Planned Parenthood the unfettered ability to promote their agenda to school children, it is one of their top legislative priorities this session along with the repeal of the Parental Notification of Abortion Act (more on that later).
This bill would have forced pregnancy resource centers to promote abortion and the fact that, in Illinois, abortions can be obtained at low or no cost. The one bit of good news about this proposed legislation is that a similar California law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, so it is highly unlikely that, if passed, this law would withstand a legal challenge.
Repeal of the Parental Notification of Abortion Act (PNA)
The Parental Notification of Abortion Act, (PNA) is a commonsense law that requires parents to be notified before their minor daughter receives an abortion. In certain cases, a judicial bypass can be obtained. Ralph Rivera explained that this is the last protective, pro-life law in our state and that, if repealed, Illinois would be a 100% “pro-choice” state.
We are certain that a bill to repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act will be introduced very soon. This is the top legislative priority for Personal PAC, Planned Parenthood, and other abortion advocacy groups in Illinois. Not only would this completely usurp the rights of parents, it would also provide cover for rapists, human traffickers, and others who want to hide their crimes.
Why are Illinois’s abortion advocacy groups so determined to repeal a law supported by a vast majority of the population? As is usually the case with abortion, it all comes down to money. Since the PNA went into effect in our state in 2013, the number of minors obtaining abortions has dropped by as much as 57% according to Girls Health First via the Illinois Department of Public Health. This equates to a significant decrease in revenue for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Repealing PNA would mean a spike in new business for Illinois abortion providers — and tens of thousands of unborn babies killed.
Abortion advocates are also trying to indoctrinate our children through administrative rules. Rivera explained that the “Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” proposal by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules would mandate that teachers “embrace, encourage, affirm inclusive viewpoints,” in regards to a plethora of topics including abortion and pregnancy. As Rivera pointed out, “Unfortunately, ‘inclusive’ today doesn’t include Christian viewpoints.” As a result, this bill could be devastating for teachers who would be forced to violate their consciences while teaching. JCAR will be considering this rule at their February meeting.
Jeanne Ives wrapped up the discussion by explaining that we have a rough four years ahead of us with pro-abortion majorities in both the state and federal legislatures as well as radical pro-abortion leaders in our governor’s mansion and the White House. Despite that, Ives explained, there is much that can be done on the state level to educate the people of Illinois. She added that we can expect more lawsuits against pro-lifers and more pro-abortion legislation, but we need to be stronger than ever and encourage everyone to not give up.
That, I believe, is the most important takeaway from the webinar. Although the future may not look bright, this is not the time to give up. There is still much we can do to save lives in Illinois! By standing together, organizing, encouraging our pro-life friends to take a stand we can shift the tide in Illinois. Our friends like you are the key to turning the pro-abortion tide in Illinois.
There was much more to the robust discussion during “The Future of Illinois Politics” webinar! If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch the full webinar here.
Illinois Right to Life Action will be hosting more webinars throughout the year. Please watch your in-box as well as social media for future announcements. We hope to “see” you at an upcoming webinar!