SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – During the normal legislative session, which concluded Thursday, May 31, state Rep. Fran Hurley, D-Chicago, championed issues for women by increasing access to breast cancer screenings and by increasing protections for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“Too often, women are not aware that dense breast tissue can make finding cancer more difficult on a mammogram,” said Hurley. “While dense breast tissue is rather common and natural, this legislation ensures women are more aware of the potential risks of it. By raising awareness of dense breast tissue, we can help women detect cancer earlier and save the lives of women who otherwise would have cancer detected too late.”
Hurley sponsored House Bill 4392, which requires all radiological systems to inform women if they have dense breast tissue and the potential risks of it. At least forty percent of women over 40 years old have dense breast tissue, and over 70 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have dense breast tissue. Hurley is committed to finding ways to increase awareness about breast cancer and how to detect it earlier. Her measure passed both the House and Senate with strong, bipartisan support.
Also this session, Hurley was the chief House sponsor of Senate Bill 2330, which was brought to Hurley by her constituent, Sara Ghadiri. Currently, when a person changes their name, the change is required to be published in a newspaper for three consecutive weeks, which creates a personal safety problem for victims of domestic violence seeking to escape abusive partners or stalkers. Under Hurley’s legislation, a judge can make the decision to waive the publishing requirement for a survivor of domestic violence, stalking or criminal conduct. Her legislation also allows survivors to use an alternate address in place of their home address in an effort to keep that information out of the hands of their abusers and protect themselves and their families. Senate Bill 2330 has passed both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support, and it now awaits to be signed into law by the governor.
“Knowledge truly is power when it comes to women’s health and safety, which includes being aware of potential threats and how to keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands,” said Hurley. “If survivors of domestic violence are going to be protected from their abuser, they need to have protections that ensure their abusers are unable to track them down once the survivor leaves the abuser. If a survivor changes her name to start a new life away from her abuser, that information should not be published.”
This spring, Hurley and the rest of the General Assembly worked together to pass a bipartisan, balanced budget that funds critical services for women and education in Illinois. The budget cuts wasteful bureaucracy and allows those funds to be reallocated to provide critical services to our community including domestic violence shelters and breast cancer screenings. The Hurley-supported budget also provides $350 million in new funding for schools.
“The women and families in our communities need access to these critical services more than the state needs wasteful administrative bloat. I am grateful we could work together to make necessary decisions and provide funding for vital services to the women of Illinois,” Hurley said. “The additional education funding will help our schools better prepare our students to build a brighter future for Illinois.”