SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Recognizing that states are the last line of defense in a post-Dobbs environment, the House Reproductive Health and the Dobbs Decision Working Group, led by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, unveiled a plan Thursday that would strengthen and expand reproductive freedoms through a number of actions.

“These proposals reflect an ongoing dialogue with expert stakeholders on ideas that will strengthen protections, prevent retaliatory behavior and protect individuals under attack by extremist-led states,” said Cassidy. “From supporting gender-affirming health care to expanding access to underserved communities, this legislation would reinforce Illinois’ position as a national leader on reproductive freedoms. We continue to have productive conversations with stakeholders, and will continue to be vigilant on action we can take moving forward.”

Introduced under Senate Bill 3799, the working group’s Patient and Provider Protection Act targets a number of categories related to reproductive freedoms by:

  • Requiring public universities and community colleges to each make emergency contraception (“Plan B”) accessible for purchase in at least one vending machine on each campus at a cost no greater than $40;
  • Requiring abortifacients (medications administered to terminate a pregnancy), gender-affirming health care* medications, and PEP/PrEP medication (HIV treatment) to be covered by insurers at no-cost;
  • Targeting health care deserts and underserved communities by permitting birth centers in Illinois to provide full spectrum reproductive health care, instead of only childbirth-related needs of pregnant persons and their newborns;
  • Allowing patients to receive hormonal birth control over the counter from a pharmacist pursuant to a statewide standing order from the Illinois Department of Public Health;
  • Clarifying that no person is subject to civil liability for receiving an abortion under the Wrongful Death Act, as well as clarifying that no hospital personnel shall report an abortion to law enforcement agencies;
  • Adding “assisted reproduction” to the definition of reproductive health care in the Reproductive Health Act (RHA);
  • Updating rules related to the disposal of fertilized ovum;
  • Amending the RHA to allow advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to perform aspiration abortions that do not require general anesthesia;
  • Striking outdated references to the now-repealed Parental Notice of Abortion Act (PNA) in all other Illinois laws;
  • Anticipating increased demand from out-of-state patients by allowing the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to grant out-of-state physicians, physicians assistants and advanced practice registered nurses a 2-year temporary license to authorize the practice of health care in Illinois under certain circumstances;
  • Protecting patients, providers and those assisting patients and providers, from aggressive litigation from states targeting reproductive health care and gender-affirming health care within Illinois; and
  • Preventing IDFPR from taking disciplinary action against a licensed health care professional based solely upon their license being disciplined by another state for providing or participating in health care that is legal in Illinois.

*Gender-affirming health care supports transgender individuals and encompasses social, psychological, behavioral and medical interventions aimed at supporting an individual’s gender identity.

“Anti-choice states have used the Dobbs decision as an excuse to inflict pain on vulnerable populations who have seen their voices silenced,” said state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago. “This proposal underscores our commitment to reproductive freedoms in Illinois and will help to deliver critical care and medication that will save lives.”

“The overturning of Roe v. Wade was a reckless, dangerous decision that reignited the fight for reproductive health rights in Illinois and across the nation,” said state Rep. Dagmara Avelar, D-Bolingbrook. “Today, we’re using this momentum to further protect the right to an abortion in Illinois, so that our state can continue to be a bastion of reproductive health care in the Midwest. This legislation proves that Illinois is a state that respects individuals and their right to bodily autonomy.”

“People turning to illicit and unsafe means of terminating their pregnancies is the inevitable result of restricting the right to an abortion,” said state Rep. Margaret Croke, D-Chicago. “Anti-choice laws do not cause fewer abortions; they cause fewer safe abortions. They cause tragic losses of life or permanent physical and mental scars. These measures help guarantee essential reproductive rights in Illinois, and are an absolute repudiation of the extremist anti-choice agenda.”

“In a sea of states that have deliberately chosen to strip people of their right to choose, Illinois remains a safe haven where anyone can exercise their right to reproductive health care,” said state Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn. “This legislative action further protects this essential right so that Illinois can remain a leader in reproductive health rights.”

“Securing reproductive freedoms in Illinois will save many lives,” said state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis. “Abortion is often not purely a choice for people to exercise control over their lives, it is the medically-necessary step to take. We must continue to combat an extremist agenda that wants to restrict access to vital medical care, and, as we have seen so many times, ends in preventable deaths. We will not allow those draconian policies to fester in Illinois.”

“The health care providers who have done so much good work in the reproductive health community deserve our support,” said state Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago. “They play an essential role in ensuring countless Illinois women, whose bodily autonomy is currently under threat, have the right to choose. Guaranteeing robust backing for reproductive health care providers has to be a major step we take.”

“While the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision undid decades of precedent and hard-fought reproductive rights, Illinois cannot and will not let that action stop us from supporting Illinois women and those seeking essential reproductive healthcare,” said state Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin. “Illinois is going to continue to see a significant influx of patients, it’s important that we take steps to be prepared and ready to meet the challenges anti-choice states throw at us.”

“As more and more states take action to ban and restrict access to safe and legal abortion and gender-affirming care, Illinois has become a refuge for those seeking healthcare services,” said state Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago. “We must do whatever we can to preserve and enhance access to these services and fight back against the extremist policies that threaten our bodily autonomy and basic human rights.”

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