chicago politics

City Council Approves Ordinance Prohibiting Local Officials From Cooperating With Investigations From Anti-Abortion States

The "Bodily Autonomy Ordinance" prohibits local leaders from cooperating with out-of-state officials on cases involving abortion or gender-affirming care

An ordinance aimed at prohibiting local officials from cooperating in any investigation from another state regarding abortion access or gender-affirming care passed the City Council on Wednesday.

The "Bodily Autonomy Ordinance," introduced by Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez and Ald. Matt Martin, codifies prohibitions originally introduced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a July 2022 executive order. Both measures are seen as local responses to the Jackson v. Dobbs decision, allowing individual states to ban abortion access and overturning nearly 50 years of legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973.

With several nearby states moving to ban abortion in the weeks and months following the Jackson v. Dobbs decision, leaders at both the state and local level in Illinois have been vehement on defending the state's status as a safe haven for abortion access and gender-affirming health care.

According to Lightfoot's office, the city will work with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, the Mayor's Advisory Council on Women and the Advisory Council on LGBTQ+ to inform citywide policy for how to respond to a request from an anti-abortion state.

The ordinance passed as neighboring Indiana saw a law banning abortions in nearly all cases take effect throughout the state last week.

While many surrounding states had "trigger laws," to ban abortion, taking effect immediately after the Jackson v. Dobbs decision, Illinois had a trigger law in place to protect access to abortion.

The Reproductive Health Act, which codifies abortion access into law in Illinois in the event of Roe v. Wade being overturned, was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker in 2019.

Prior to the signing of the RHA, former Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill in 2017 that allows state health insurance to cover the costs of abortion.

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