Illinois bill would allow women to sue men over unwanted pregnancies

Date Added: October 01, 2021 11:28:33 AM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: Legal Services

A proposed bill in Illinois would change possible repercussions for domestic violence, sexual assault, and unwanted pregnancies.

Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy filed “The EXpanding Abortion Services Act" Sept. 14. The acronym of the bill spells out "TEXAS."

The bill was in direct response to the Texas legislature restricting access to abortions. Cassidy says the bill would outline new civil penalties for rapists and abusers.

What would the implication for Illinois be if we adopted a similar approach? What is the impact on our civil court system? What is the impact of deputizing neighbors to turn each other in for money?

Those are the questions Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, asked before she introduced the "TEXAS Act" in Springfield earlier this month.

Otherwise known as The Expanding Abortion Services (TEXAS) Act, the newly introduced legislation (HB4146) would allow a person to sue anyone that causes an unintended pregnancy, and create a public abortion fund for non-Illinoisans.

The TEXAS Act was introduced just weeks after the most restrictive abortion law in the nation went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, 2021. Cassidy says her bill will examine just how extreme the new Texas abortion law is, which allows private citizens to sue those that perform or aid an abortion, and receive up to $10,000 as a reward for turning those individuals in. The Texas law effectively bans all abortions, regardless of rape or incest, after six weeks -- a timeframe where many women do not know they're pregnant.

The Illinois bill would do just the opposite. If passed, it would allow anyone to sue another person for unintended pregnancy, regardless of circumstance or consent. A person could also sue anyone who commits sexual assault, domestic violence, or abuse. The civil action damages would start at $10,000.

If the case is won, half of the money would go to a public state fund to pay for abortions for residents of states like Texas.

While Planned Parenthood Illinois Action hasn't taken an official stance on the bill, they say Texans seeking abortion are already flowing into Illinois.

The Texas law went into effect on a Wednesday. And just two days later, we had patients at multiple health centers here in Chicagoland," President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Jennifer Welch, said.

But for those at Illinois Right to Life Action, a pro-life lobbying group, believe the proposed law is unconstitutional.

"This allows women to seek damages if they become pregnant after consensual sex," Executive Director Amy Gehrke said. "The fact that they will be taking money from people to fund abortion. There are so many aspects of this bill that make it completely unserious."

Gehrke added that Illinois Right to Life is in full support of prosecuting those that perpetuate domestic violence and sexual assault.

For Cassidy, she says that the 'unconstitutionality' mentioned by Gehrke is exactly what she's trying to point out about the Texas abortion law.

It is built exactly off of the Texas law," Cassidy said. "People like her [Gehrke] all over this country are making people flee their home states for healthcare and creating incredibly unsafe situations for people all over the country.
Cassidy explains that abortion access in Illinois is very protected, and would be untouchable even if Roe v. Wade was ever overturned. Both Cassidy and Welch say they are in support of eliminating a parental notice of abortion requirement in Illinois, allowing anyone under 18 to receive the service without notifying a guardian.

The TEXAS Act has only been introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives. It would need to pass in the House, in the Senate, and receive Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature to become law.
~ Via Komo News