Governor J.B. Pritzker held a press conference Tuesday morning speaking out against the Supreme Court’s potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, as reported in a Politico article last night.
“First, let me be clear. No matter what atrocious opinion the Supreme Court officially rolls out this summer in regards to Roe v. Wade, abortion is safe and legal in Illinois,” said Pritzker.
Rights At Issue
He was joined at the press conference by a group of legislators who Pritzker said led the efforts in ensuring reproductive rights, helping to pass the Illinois Reproductive Health Act. Signed into law in 2019, that act establishes the fundamental right to reproductive health, including the right to have an abortion.
Pritzker said overturning Roe v. Wade had many more consequences than just changing abortion laws.
“It means an end to the constitutional right of privacy,” he said, and warned that more legislation changes could be ahead. “If they can reverse 50 years of settled law, then every Supreme Court decision that has made this country freer and fairer can be reversed by this court.”
His anger at the potential ruling was echoed by many who followed him on the podium.
Other Legislators React
Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) who was a principal sponsor of the Illinois Reproductive Health Act, said she felt like her life as well as her family’s was “teetering at the top of a Jenga tower that we’re watching crash in real time.”
“It’s not just about reproductive rights,” said Cassidy. “Every single right that we have that is based on the right of privacy, the foundation of the Roe decision, is at risk.”
State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) reflected back to being in high school in 1973, and knowing women who had to travel to other states to get abortions. “I cannot believe we are standing here today, since 1973, that women’s bodily autonomy is under attack. No government has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body,” said Bush.
Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton spoke of her anger and fear of the potential change in the ruling, but ended with a promise to the public. “Here in Illinois, we will not go back. Not on our watch,” she said.
The document was written by Justice Samuel Alito, in reference to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which is set to be decided by the Supreme Court this summer. In it, Alito states, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” It says that the decision, rather than settling the abortion issue, has instead “enflamed debate and deepened division.”
The ruling on Roe v. Wade in 1973 guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. In 1992, a 5-4 ruling in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case affirmed the “essential holding” of Roe v. Wade.
Alito addresses both cases within the brief, saying, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” He later said the issue of abortion should be returned “to the people’s elected representatives.”
Chief Justice John Roberts said he is launching an investigation into the source of the leaked draft opinion.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.
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