First up, Illinois
On Thursday of last week Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois signed into law some important protections for people in Illinois. The new law does two things: it guarantees that abortion will remain legal in Illinois and it removes some harmful restrictions that previously denied insurance coverage of abortion for individuals who are struggling to make ends meet and for those who are state employees!
This is a big deal because it means that people in Illinois won’t be denied insurance coverage of abortion because of their income or where they work. And not only that, but this law makes Illinois the first state in decades to voluntarily lift its restriction on Medicaid coverage of abortion. This is a great win! By enacting this law, Illinois is taking one step to remedy inequality in abortion access between individuals who rely on Medicaid and those with more resources. Now if only we can get the federal government to follow Illinois’ lead!
In Kentucky a federal judge ruled that a law, which would have required patients to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound before they could have an abortion, was unconstitutional. Truth! Once a woman has decided to have an abortion forcing her to jump through hoops like an unnecessary ultrasound just makes it harder for her to have the abortion she needs. These requirements are clearly unnecessary, harmful, and burdensome and they certainly don’t do anything to change people’s minds. And as this federal judge made clear, these types of laws have the “potential to harm the psychological well-being of the patient.” We are glad that this Kentucky federal court came to the right decision and said N-O-P-E to this unconstitutional and burdensome anti-abortion law!
And Finally, Texas
And the last piece of good news – Texas abortion advocates launched a new grassroots group called Repro Power TX. This new group will work to ensure that people in Texas have access to the reproductive health care they need. Repro Power TX is hitting the ground running by organizing local, city, and county initiatives to build support for abortion access and reproductive justice across Texas. Work like this is so important to ensure that comprehensive reproductive health care remains accessible for all.
Here at NWLC we are shimmying with our bad-selves over this good news and we hope you are too. It feels like the opportunity for celebrations are few and far between but this last week truly had some great wins for all people.