SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois Democrats have introduced two measures that would expand abortion access in the state by removing a parental notification requirement and a ban on late-term abortions.
The proposed legislation was filed Wednesday, The Chicago Tribune reported. One bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Emanuel Welch of Hillside would repeal the state's parental notice law, which requires minors to notify a legal guardian before having an abortion.
The other bill would remove restrictions on late-term abortions, require private insurance companies in the state to cover abortions and allow advanced-practice nurses to perform the procedures.
"As a woman, a mother and someone who has been a longtime supporter of full access to reproductive care, from contraception, abortion, pregnancy and postpartum care, it is time to modernize and update these laws to reflect the equality of women in Illinois," the bill's sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, of Chicago, said in a news release.
Mary Kate Knorr, who heads Illinois Right to Life, said the bills are "extreme" and "irresponsible."
"This parental notification law is absolutely necessary," she said. "There are women who are in abuse situations and are being trafficked that this law protects. This parental notification law is a checkpoint for abuse and human trafficking situations."
A spokesman for Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he's an advocate for women's rights and is looking forward to reviewing the bills. Pritzker last month said he wanted to make Illinois "the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to standing up for women's reproductive rights."
Abortion rights are an important issue for Illinois residents, said Colleen K. Connell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
"What the new law would do is say we will treat women's health care — whether it's for abortion, birth control or maternity care — we're going to treat that as health care, not as a crime, the way the old enjoined laws did," Connell said.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com