Illinois Law Doesn’t ‘Eliminate All Restrictions on Abortions,’ Contrary to Ad from Advocacy Group

In digital ads, a political advocacy group makes the false claim that Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Democrats voted to “eliminate all restrictions on abortions up until the day of birth.”

Illinois law doesn’t allow for abortions after fetal viability unless the pregnant person’s life or health is at risk.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, abortion has become a top issue in the 2022 elections — including in the Illinois governor’s race, where Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey is challenging Pritzker.

Illinois is among states that have passed or expanded previously passed laws that protect the right to an abortion.

Illinois Family Action, a Christian nonprofit political advocacy and lobbying organization, has been running an ad this month titled “Who Are The Extremists?”

The ad was shared on the group’s website, YouTube and Facebook.

The caption of the Facebook ad says, “Who Are The Extremists? Did you know that JB Pritzker & state Democrats voted to eliminate all restrictions on abortions in Illinois? That’s right, Illinois Democrats support abortion up to the day of birth & want taxpayers to foot the bill.”

Illinois Family Action spent about $1,000 for the Facebook ad, which received over 48,000 views, according to Facebook’s ad library.

The nonprofit shared other posts with the claim as well. 

A spokesperson for Illinois Family Action told us in a phone interview that the ad is about Senate Bill 25, known as the Reproductive Health Act.

But that bill, which became law, does not eliminate all restrictions on abortions in Illinois. 

The Reproductive Health Act was passed by Illinois lawmakers and signed into law by Pritzker in 2019. The law protects the right to an abortion and states that “every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about one’s own reproductive health.”

It also requires health insurance to “cover key preventive care services without out-of-pocket costs for patients.” 

The Reproductive Health Act allows for abortions after fetal viability, but only to “protect the life or health of the patient.” Fetal viability is defined in the law as being the point when there is a “significant likelihood of a fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”

That is generally considered to be about 24 weeks of gestation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 99% of U.S. abortions in 2019 occurred by 20 weeks’ gestation or less.

The Illinois law says, “A health care professional may provide abortion care in accordance with the health care professional’s professional judgment and training and based on accepted standards of clinical practice consistent with the scope of his or her practice under the Medical Practice Act of 1987, the Nurse Practice Act, or the Physician Assistant Practice Act of 1987. If the health care professional determines that there is fetal viability, the health care professional may provide abortion care only if, in the professional judgment of the health care professional, the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the patient.”

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