May 4, 2022 - News

Pritzker takes to national stage on abortion rights

Photo illustration of Arkansas Governor J. B. Pritzker with lines radiating from him.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios; Photo: Joshua Lott /Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is emerging as one of the main faces of abortion-rights states in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: Illinois has one of the most liberal abortion laws in the Midwest, which could make the state a magnet for those seeking options.

What he's saying: "Let me be clear, no matter what atrocious opinion the Supreme Court rolls out this summer in regards to Roe v. Wade, abortion is safe and legal in Illinois," Pritzker said yesterday at the Thompson Center while touting Illinois' unrestricted abortion law.

Context: In 2019, Pritzker signed the Reproductive Health Act, which repealed prior restrictions on abortions.

Driving the news: In recent media appearances, Pritzker's new election strategy has been to point out key differences with opponents.

  • "For a party that says they're all about individual freedom, [Republicans] are hellbent on taking away freedoms from so many women," Pritzker said on CNN Monday. "And remember, if they come after Roe, they'll come after everything."
  • "Gay marriage is next. Then other protections for minority and marginalized communities."

Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has vowed to make Chicago a safe haven for reproductive care. That sentiment is echoed in the new audition video the city produced as part of its official bid for the 2024 Democratic National Convention.

  • "Leading the battle on voting rights. Advocating to preserve all civil rights. Suppression. Oppression. We're fighting for equality," hip-hop star Common says in the video.

The other side: Several GOP candidates have gone public in support of the ruling. That includes Gary Rabine, Darren Bailey and Jesse Sullivan.

  • Aurora mayor and GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Richard Irvin has declined to comment.

Of note: Planned Parenthood of Illinois just moved to a larger location downtown in anticipation of people traveling for out-of-state abortions.

  • "This is a devastating blow for the millions of people who will suddenly find themselves in an abortion desert; facing a daunting dilemma — travel hundreds of miles to access an abortion, seek an illegal alternative or carry a pregnancy to term against their will," executive director Jennifer Welch said in a statement.
  • "We will continue to fight so that everyone can access the fundamental reproductive health care they need and deserve — no matter what."
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