Illinois governor signs abortion protections into law

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. JB Pritzker signed a new bill into law Wednesday aimed at expanding abortion access in Illinois.

A celebratory bill signing ceremony for the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) took place at 10 a.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Pritzker said this law makes Illinois the most progressive state when it comes to women's reproductive rights.

The RHA removes restrictions on abortions later in pregnancy, as well as eliminates spousal consent, waiting periods and criminal penalties for abortion providers. The bill also expands insurance coverage for procedures and contraception.

"In a time when too many states across the nation are taking a step backward, Illinois is taking a giant step forward for women's health", Pritzker said.

Critics of the law believe it's too broad. Pro-life advocates gathered outside of the bill signing to speak against it.

"Prior to today, you could not -- except under exceptional circumstances -- do an abortion after the viability of a child. Today, you can now do it for nearly any reason", Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society said.

Breen and others say that legislators have made Illinois the abortion capital of America, protecting what the Thomas More Society says is a barbarous act, stripping all rights from unborn children.

Wednesday's signing ceremony comes as several states pass more restrictive abortion laws with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

Pro-choice advocates say it's an assault on women's rights, and believe it's all in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973.

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