EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (WMBD) — Governor J.B. Pritzker, State Sen. Chris Belt (D- Swansea), and State Rep. LaToya Greenwood (D- East St. Louis) joined pro-choice advocates Wednesday to hold a rally, sharing the importance of protecting reproductive rights.
“Illinois is truly a safe haven for women and their right to privacy,” Belt said.
The three Democrats used their platform, standing in front of a Planned Parenthood in East St. Louis, to encourage citizens to vote.
“Rally around the causes you hold near and dear to you, and vote,” Belt said. “I implore you to vote, but not only you. Get your family, get your friends involved.”
The rally comes as the country waits for the Supreme Court to rule on the future of Roe V. Wade. On May 2, Politico published a leaked Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the 1973 ruling.
Abortion and reproductive rights are once again at the center of national political discourse.
“We support women in Illinois,” said Greenwood.
Airforce veteran Amanda Depue took to the podium at the press conference to share the experience of women in the military when it comes to abortion access. Depue said the military’s health insurance does not cover abortion for service members.
“If [Roe v. Wade] were overturned, pregnant servicewomen would be unable to seek care necessary to remain in uniform,” Depue said. “For those women that are considering active duty, the reversal of Roe will mean many cannot and will not be able to consider serving their country.”
“Seeking an abortion while on active duty shouldn’t limit or end a military career,” Pritzker said. “We will fight for their right to choose and help them overcome these unnecessary burdens.”
Abortion is largely protected in Illinois, and Pritzker has made promises along the campaign trail to ensure abortion access remains in the state.
“Every Republican running for Governor wants to make Illinois an anti-choice state,” Pritzker said. “Every single one of them. The people who will bear the brunt of that disastrous decision will be military women, poor women, young women, women of color, and our LGBTQ+ communities. Not to mention every woman in our state.”
At a press conference near Chicago, gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin sidestepped questions about his position on abortion. WMBD previously reported Irvin admitted he was pro-life, and took issue with many “extremities” in Illinois’ abortion laws.
Republican candidate Darren Bailey posted his position clearly on Facebook.
“As Governor, my focus will be restoring parental notification, ending taxpayer-funded abortion, and prioritizing and ensuring viable options that save lives and support women and families before, during, and after pregnancy,” his post stated.
Starting Wednesday, teenagers are no longer required to let their parents know before obtaining an abortion. According to ACLU Illinois, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Youth Health and Safety Act, which repeals the Parental Notification of Abortion Act, in October 2021. Pritzker signed the bill into law in December 2021, but now the measure is going into effect.