An Illinois state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would forbid any branch of the state’s government from requiring employees to travel to states with pro-life laws and make voluntary travel to such states ineligible for reimbursement.
State Rep. Daniel Didech argued that HB 3901, which he introduced Sept. 26, is intended to protect Illinois employees.
“As a member of Legislature, I have the responsibility to protect our state employees who may not be able to get the health care they may need when they’re traveling on official state business,” he said in a statement.
In his Washington Update blog, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, countered Didech, writing, “That’s absolutely ridiculous, because unlike Illinois, [pro-life] states actually ensure that mothers have the cutting-edge care they need.”
This year, 12 states have passed laws restricting or banning abortion. Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted “heartbeat bills,” which prohibit abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, but none are currently in effect due to legal challenges from abortion activists.
Illinois Catholic Conference executive director Robert Gilligan called HB 3901 “absurd.”
“Do we prevent state employees from traveling to Flint, Michigan, where they have less safe water?” he asked. “This type of thinking is endless. State laws should pertain to what happens in Illinois. … There are states that have weaker gun laws, different speed limits, different smoking laws—why don’t we protect our state employees when they travel to other states when they may not have the same laws as Illinois on these issues?”
In June, the state enacted the Illinois Reproductive Health Act, which says women have a “fundamental right” to abortion. It also explicitly states that “a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of [the] state.”
Later that same month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that the state would withdraw from the federal Title X program and directly fund abortion centers.
“[HB 3901] is yet another indicator that Illinois legislators will cast aside all other priorities to force abortion down the throats of our state residents,” said Mary Kate Knorr, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “Rep. Didech, who introduced the bill, is clearly more concerned with his own political capital than he is with protecting the health and well-being of women, both in Illinois and elsewhere.”
“Illinois has a serious human dignity problem,” said Perkins. “And the only people who are in real danger are the ones traveling to Didech’s state, where life is only safe if it’s wanted.”
Above: Abortion activists participate in a protest against Alabama’s pro-life legislation at Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center in Evanston, Illinois, on May 21, 2019.