Before the Illinois House approved a bill on Tuesday that will allow sweeping new measures in favor of abortion, Illinois State Rep. Avery Bourne (R) spoke Tuesday in protest of the bill.
Speaking through tears, the pregnant Bourne criticized advocates of the bill by pointing out that it would allow women to abort a "perfectly healthy" baby.
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"This bill will mean that if a baby requires extraordinary medical measures after they are born, 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," Bourne said. "This bill means that if the baby is viable, a doctor can determine that the post viable abortion can take place, based on a number of factors that can include familial health and the age of the woman."
Bourne said that in failing to provide a specific definition of "familial health," the bill's authors open the door for that phrase to be interpreted in the broadest senses possible.
"This bill will mean that for a woman at my stage in pregnancy, where a baby responds to his dad's voice when he reads him books at night, 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," Bourne said.
Because of the bill's wide range of permission for abortion, many women are coming to Illinois specifically to receive abortions, Bourne added. Following the bill's passage, she argued, Illinois would not only have the "most expansive" allowances for abortion in its state history but also "one of the most expansive across the country."
"This bill is not about keeping abortion legal in Illinois," Bourne said. "This bill is about a massive expansion that will impact viable babies. And that is wrong."
The Illinois House passed the bill in a 64-50 vote, with only six Democrats voting against it. The new bill would repeal Illinois's current abortion law, removing requirements for spousal consent, criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions in certain situations, waiting periods, and restrictions on abortion facilities.
Illinois Gov J.B. Pritzker (D.) has supported the bill, and following its passage in the House, suggested the Senate do the same.
"With reproductive healthcare under attack across the country, we must do everything in our power to protect women's rights in Illinois," he said in a statement.