Illinois state representative Avery Bourne gave an impassioned appeal against the proposed Reproductive Health Act in the Illinois General Assembly Tuesday as the Illinois House was poised to pass the radical abortion bill.
Bourne, who is herself expecting a baby in July, displayed emotion and gave personal witness when depicting the risk to unborn life posed by the extreme bill, termed “the most radical proposed in any state to date.”
“This bill will mean that for a woman at my stage in pregnancy, where the baby responds to his dad’s voice as he reads him books at night,” she said, “the woman could go to the facility, the baby’s perfectly healthy, but if that woman says based on my familial health, this is medically necessary, that is allowed.”
“We are talking about the most expansive bill we have seen in this state,” stated Bourne, “and one of the most expansive across the country.”
“We already know we’ve got women coming to Illinois to have abortions because we are so expansive on this issue,” she added. “That will continue.”
“This bill is not about keeping abortion legal in Illinois,” Bourne emphasized. “This bill a massive expansion that will impact viable babies — and that is wrong.”
She then exhorted the House’s members to vote against the bill.
The Illinois House passed the bill Tuesday, repealing the state’s partial-birth abortion ban, allowing non-doctors to commit abortions, and eliminating protections for babies born during botched abortions. It eliminates requirements to investigate fetal deaths or maternal deaths resulting from abortion and strips away conscience protections for pro-life health care workers, as well as forces health insurance policies — including religious organizations — to cover abortions.
The bill expressly declares that the unborn child has no rights, establishing “the fundamental right” of a pregnant woman to have an abortion and stating, “A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent
Bourne’s remarks came amid nearly two and a half hours of debate on the controversial law, after much pursuit on the part of the Republican lawmaker to get answers from the bill’s sponsor, Democrat Representative Kelly Cassidy, on the bill’s definitions.
“We hear a lot of really personal, emotional stories from the other side of the aisle about why this is so important to them,” Bourne said. “Whether or not this passes, abortion remains legal in Illinois. It remains legal, really, with broader legality than many, many other states where abortion is legal.”
“This is a broad expansion,” Bourne said. “Not only does it repeal important provisions that put in statute what we value as a state, like protecting the women who die during an abortion, like protecting the rights that if parents object to their child’s abortion, they don’t have to pay for it. It takes out measures that we have legislated over the years because we think it’s important to stand up for the people who are impacted.”
“More than that,” she told the Assembly, “we are not requiring that this legislature will ever know how this bill is being interpreted.”
Bourne told her fellow lawmakers the bill would entail extensive changes in what it means for a fetus to be viable and what it means for the health of the patient to determine post-viability abortions.
“This bill will mean that if a baby requires extraordinary medical measures after they’re born,” she said, “doctors could determine up to the 40th week of pregnancy that that baby was never viable because it had to be flown to the NICU after it was born.”
“This bill means that if the baby is viable, a doctor can determine that the post-viable abortion can still take place based on a number of factors that include familial health and the age of the woman,” continued Bourne.
“Familial health, by the way, we still haven’t gotten any kind of definition for,” she said, referencing her attempts to get answers from the bill’s sponsor earlier in the debate. “That could take on a broad range of applicability.”
The bill passed 64 to 50 and is now before Illinois’s Democrat-controlled state Senate.
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