While several states throughout the country have recently passed abortion restrictions, Illinois decided to go in a different direction. The state officially passed a bill that would establish a woman’s “fundamental right” to an abortion. It is a step in the wrong direction, but unsurprising for a state dedicated to endorsing abortion on demand.
The restrictions rescinded in this recent bill passed by the Illinois legislature, which the Governor is expected to sign, includes the requirement for spousal consent, waiting periods, certain restrictions on abortion facilities, and procedures that would help in the prosecution of an abortionist. The bill also repeals the state’s partial-birth abortion law. A federal law supersedes it, but the decision to revoke such a commonsense abortion restriction is disturbing.
“We’re not going back,” said Senator Melinda Bush, who cosponsored the bill. “We’re not going back to coat hangers; we’re not going back to dying. We’re not going back. And I am proud to say Illinois is a beacon for women’s rights, for human rights.”
Senator Bush obviously feels passionate about the topic, but she’s missing something incredibly important. The laws were not there to block women from having an abortion but are there to make sure women are protected and understand the gravity of their decision and how it can have a lifelong impact.
Here is why those laws and restrictions were likely instituted in the first place and should’ve remained in place:
Spousal Consent – A woman cannot get pregnant by herself, but many in the pro-abortion activist world often refuse to acknowledge the critical role that men play in creating children. To promote their ideas, they diminish fatherhood in order to support a woman’s right to choose. But unless there is an abusive situation happening, a woman should still be communicating with her spouse or significant other before having the procedure. Abortion doesn’t just affect women—it affects men too. (Read one man’s story about the impact abortion had on him and his marriage.)
Waiting Periods – Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses hate mandatory waiting periods for one reason: it allows a woman to change her mind. For the abortion business, if a woman has a change of heart it means the abortion business doesn’t get her money for the procedure and it also diminishes the message of abortion itself. Part of the abortion philosophy activists proclaim is that women don’t change their mind about abortion or have any regrets about the abortion. But it simply isn’t true. Waiting periods allow women to think through their decision and consider all their options, and without it a woman may have an abortion only to regret it minutes later. The abortion pill reversal movement is proof of that.
Restrictions on Abortion Facilities – Any decision to require abortion facilities to meet certain standards is an attempt to protect women in the event of a medical emergency. All medical procedures carry certain risks, including abortion. If activists really cared about women they would agree to those protections, and women should not be put at risk in order to fulfill a political philosophy.
Criminal Proceedings Against Abortionists – This restriction, again, is meant to protect women. Abortion has ability to attract doctors and nurses more interested in fast cash than patient care. Dr. Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist who killed two women and thousands of babies, is a perfect example. As an abortionist in Philadelphia, Gosnell was able to abort babies that were beyond the legal abortion limit without prosecution for over a decade. His procedures were often grotesque, abusive and physically damaging towards his female patients, and his late-term “abortion procedures” often included babies born alive and then killed by Gosnell outside the womb. Prosecuting doctors like Gosnell is key to insuring women’s safety, something abortion activists say they want to do., But taking away some of that framework in order to protect abortion leaves women vulnerable.
Repealing the State’s Partial-Birth Abortion Ban – Basically, the state just legalized the practice of Gosnell. A partial-birth abortion occurs when the abortionist removes the preborn feet first outside the uterus and punctures the neck in order to crush the head and complete the abortion. Gosnell did a similar thing, but most of his babies were outside the uterus when he cut their necks to kill them. Repealing this restriction was excessive and unnecessary.
Although the news out of Illinois is dire, there is some encouraging news as well. Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound Program is hard at work supporting local pregnancy resource centers. In Chicago we’ve completed 21 grants for 8 organizations through our Chicagoland Project and there are 30 more grants waiting for fulfillment. Through those completed grants there will soon be a mobile ultrasound unit in the city and 3 new stationary ultrasound machines. Option Ultrasound is also committed to providing Abortion Pill Reversal training and certification to local nurses, which will save the lives of preborn babies.
The politicians of the state tried to make abortion more accessible, but not everyone in the state is taking that directive lying down. Focus on the Family and local pregnancy resource centers are committed to helping women, couples and families thrive and avoid the harsh realities of abortion.
If you would like to help support women and babies in Illinois and around the country, learn more about how you can donate to Option Ultrasound here.