NARAL tweeted 2021 was the worst year ever for abortion rights. It seems like the pro-life movement has all the momentum. Doesn’t that mean Illinois is a disaster of an abortion haven? We’ve had two consecutive governors who signed legislation to expand abortion in our state. What do you think?
– Interested in Illinois
Dear Interested in Illinois,
You are absolutely right. Between the Supreme Court hearting a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case, the Texas Heartbeat Act, and dozens of other pro-life laws passed in numerous states, the pro-life movement definitely has the momentum. Unfortunately, because of our radical, pro-abortion laws, this good news puts Illinois, our neighboring states, and the entire Midwest in an incredibly precarious position.
At Illinois Right to Life, we believe that the radical, pro-abortion extremism that plagues our state can be rolled back and, eventually, eradicated. As we often say in our office, “We can and we will win Illinois for life.” We MUST win Illinois for life – our abortion laws negate the pro-life laws of our neighboring states and, when and if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe, hundreds of thousands of women could come to Illinois for abortions. This is not hyperbole. The pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute has projected this.
How can Illinois Right to Life and the pro-life movement succeed? In order to win Illinois for life, we must take a page from our opponents: Radical abortion advocates in Illinois. Specifically, Personal PAC.
As I traveled across Illinois in 2021, I was stunned by the number of faithful, pro-life advocates who had never heard of Personal PAC. Headed by Terry Cosgrove, Personal PAC is a very powerful, very well-funded Illinois political action committee that is, in large part, responsible for the huge supermajorities of pro-abortion legislators in Springfield as well as our state’s shift to the left on other issues. Their motto is “Pro-Choice, No Exceptions”. To receive an endorsement and money from Personal PAC, candidates must support abortion for any reason, through all nine months of pregnancy, no questions asked, no protective laws whatsoever.
Personal PAC is not a new organization. They opened their doors in the early ‘90s, but their first major pro-abortion victory in Illinois wasn’t until 2017 — over 30 years after they were founded.
In 2017, of course, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 40, expanding Medicaid funding of abortion and eliminating Illinois’s “trigger law” which would have outlawed abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Two years later, in 2019, Personal PAC was a major player behind SB 18, the insidious Reproductive Health Act. This, among many other horrible things, legalized abortion in Illinois through all nine months of pregnancy and left abortion clinics to regulate themselves, putting women in grave danger. Finally, just last year, Personal PAC successfully lobbied to repeal our last pro-life law: Parental Notice of Abortion. What will they do next? We fully expect Personal PAC to try and eliminate their competition: pregnancy resource centers.
So what could we possibly learn from the pro-abortion extremists in Illinois?
Personal PAC was successful because they were tenacious, they were strategic, they kept their eyes on the prize and didn’t let other issues distract them from their single focus of abortion. They worked hand in hand with other groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU, and others to utilize each others’ talents.
This is exactly what the pro-life movement must do. We must be strategic. We must be tenacious. We must keep our eyes on the prize and remain focused on our mission to make Illinois pro-life again. We must work together and utilize one another’s strengths. We must never give up, no matter how long it takes to win Illinois for life.
Pro-lifers in Illinois have worked very hard and have been very successful with direct, on-the-ground action. In order for Illinois to be pro-life again, though, we must think long-term and big picture. We must work to educate the people of Illinois about the reality of abortion in Illinois and what it has done to our state. We must work to create fundamental change in attitudes about abortion in those who don’t believe it is an important issue throughout Illinois.
We also know that those in our neighboring states and on the national level who have written off Illinois as an irredeemable haven of abortion extremism do so at their peril. As I mentioned, Illinois’s radical, pro-abortion laws are a direct threat to our neighboring states. There is no doubt that Illinois is a model for the abortion industry to spread its evil across the Midwest.
Finally, we are confident of our success because we know, at its heart, Illinois is not a pro-abortion state. We know that the pro-life citizens of Illinois are tired of the pro-abortion extremism in our state. One of our goals is to mobilize the pro-life citizens of our state to take action and win our state. We cannot win Illinois for live without the time, talent, and treasure of every pro-life citizen in our state!
You can learn more about Illinois Right to Life’s strategic plan to win our state for life here.
Although it won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, we can and we will win Illinois for life!