While the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion at the federal level, it was up to the states to regulate the practice. Some states have made it virtually impossible to access abortion services, while others have enacted just a few restrictions and rules. Still other states, including Illinois, passed legislation protecting abortion access ahead of possible challenges to Roe.
Specifically, Illinois' Reproductive Health Act (immediately enacted upon its signage into law on June 12, 2019) codifies that "every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about one's own reproductive health." This includes the fundamental right to have an abortion. The law specifically states that a "fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights,” contrasting with some states' efforts to pass "personhood" bills on behalf of unborn fetuses.
The 2019 law requires insurers to cover abortion and other reproductive health services and allows aggrieved parties (i.e. those denied abortion in opposition to the law) to bring civil lawsuits. The law also repeals the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act and the Abortion Performance Refusal Act.
Illinois Abortion Laws at a Glance
Laws are notoriously difficult to understand, especially when they're written in legalese. Below is a summary of Illinois abortion laws, including links to the 1975 law repealed in 2019, written in plain English for your convenience.
Note: The Reproductive Health Act (Illinois SB1942) replaces the code section cited above. While it became enacted immediately upon signing, it has yet to be added to the existing code.
|Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion||Abortions can be performed after viability only if necessary to protect the health or life of the pregnant woman.|
|Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion||-|
|Penalty for Unlawful Abortion||-|
|Consent Requirements||Minors (under 18 years of age) must have parental consent.|
|Residency Requirements for Patients||None|
|Physician Licensing Requirements||Licensed M.D.|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Illinois Abortion Laws: Related Resources
Questions About Your Abortion Rights? Talk to an Illinois Family Law Attorney
Abortion laws in Illinois can be complex. Since providers have to comply with numerous licensing requirements and regulations, it is confusing to know what laws apply. If you need additional information regarding rights and obligations, then you should contact an experienced Illinois attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.