Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday called a special session of the Illinois General Assembly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years.
Abortion will remain legal in Illinois, thanks to a law signed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017 that rolled back a measure that would have automatically banned abortion in Illinois if Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, was overturned.
“We are committed to taking swift action to further enshrine our commitment to reproductive health care rights and protections,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Likely on the agenda for the special session will be bills designed to strengthen protections for abortion care, and to provide resources for people traveling to Illinois from states that have banned abortion.
Lawmakers could also take up a bill that passed the Illinois House but not the Senate during the spring session that prevents state officials from disciplining doctors and nurses for providing abortion care to ensure there are enough health care professionals to handle the coming wave.
After vowing during the 2018 campaign to make Illinois a safe haven for women seeking reproductive health care, Pritzker signed a bill in 2019 declaring women have a “fundamental” right to abortion in Illinois and required health insurers to cover the medical procedure. In 2021, Pritzker signed a bill repealing a measure that required minors seeking an abortion to notify their parents or get permission from a judge.
“I’m the most pro-choice governor in the entire nation,” Pritzker said.
Illinois and Minnesota are now the only states in the Midwest where abortion is legal, and health care providers are preparing for a deluge of patients from other states seeking reproductive health care.