JB Pritzker

‘We Will Fight Back': Pritzker, Illinois Officials React to Supreme Court Ruling on Roe. v. Wade

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The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. in 1973.

The decision comes more than a month after the leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.

The court's ruling means that individual states will now have the power to set their own abortion laws without concern of running afoul of Roe.

Following the news, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker vowed to continue to protect women's rights in the state, tweeting "we will fight back" and calling for a special session for reproductive rights.

But, not unexpectedly, Illinois' delegation is split on the issue.

Here's how public officials are reacting to the ruling.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D)

Pritzker said in a statement Friday, "In Illinois, we trust women," echoing a statement he made last month when the Supreme Court opinion was leaked.

"Despite the action of the Supreme Court today overturning Roe v. Wade, the right to safe, accessible reproductive health care is in full force in Illinois – and will remain so," the statement continued.

"In Illinois, we’ve planned for this terrible day, an enormous step backward and a shattering loss of rights. We passed the Reproductive Health Act, enshrining choice as the law of the land in Illinois. We removed the trigger law that would have prohibited abortion in Illinois with the overturning of Roe v Wade. We expanded health care so that finances are not a barrier to receiving reproductive care."

"In Illinois, we are a state committed to expanding access to reproductive health care including abortion care, contraception access, fertility treatment and gender affirming care. We’ve made it clear that we trust people to make the best decisions for themselves about their own reproductive health."

Pritzker has halso called for a special legislative session in the coming weeks.

Vice President Kamala Harris (D)

During her visit to Plainfield, Illinois on Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris addressed Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.

"Today, as of right now, as of this minute, we can only talk about what Roe v. Wade protected. Paste tense," Harris said. "This is a health care crisis. Because understand - millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the health care and reproductive care that they had this morning."

During her visit to Plainfield on Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris addressed Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.

"This is the first time in the history of our nation that a constitutional right has been taken from the people of America," Harris added.

Illinois Republican Party

“Today, millions of prayers have been answered," Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy said Friday in a statement.

"Abortion is a very difficult and controversial topic in which real lives - of both mothers and babies - are deeply affected. Because of this monumental ruling, the regulation of abortion is now being left to individual states as it should be."

The full statement is below.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D)

"It's a dark day in America for people who care about civil rights and equal justice under the law," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday in a statement.

WATCH: ‘You Have Sanctuary in the City of Chicago': Lightfoot on Supreme Court Overturning Roe V. Wade

"The Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark legislation that has paved the way for people in need of reproductive care to access safe abortions for the past 50 years, is unfathomable and devastating."

"Make no mistake: this decision will be used as precedent to gut the legal underpinnings used to protect against gender-based discrimination, which includes women’s rights, trans rights, immigrant rights, and of course, the right to same sex and interracial marriage," Lightfoot continued.

Read the full statement below.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin (R)

"As a pro-life Republican, I will continue to fight for every parent's right to know if a minor child is having an abortion -- - a right JB Pritzker has outrageously taken away," Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said Friday in a statement.

Irvin is running in the Illinois Primary Election as a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

"With Democratic majorities in the Illinois General Assembly, this Supreme Court ruling will have no effect on the law in our state," Irvin's statement continued.

State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest)

"Today’s decision by the nation’s top court is devastating – a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body should be a basic health care standard," Morrison said Friday in a statement.

"By stripping women of that right, women are being told their rights don’t matter – despite it being 2022."

“I am grateful the General Assembly took the necessary precautionary steps years ago to ensure abortion remains legal in Illinois. Yet my heart breaks for the millions of women across the nation whose rights have been taken from them.”

Gubernatorial Candidate Jesse Sullivan (R)

For so many of us in Illinois, the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is something we’ve prayed, fought and worked toward for decades," GOP Gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan said Friday in a statement. "The next decision–with power back in the states–is about where Illinois will go from here. 

“J.B. Pritzker and politicians in both parties have made Illinois the worst state in the nation for pro-life values. That ends when we elect a pro-life governor this November."

Congressman Bill Foster (D)

"Today, our nation took a devastating step backward," Illinois Congressman Bill Foster said Friday in a release.

"This decision dismantles nearly 50 years of settled judicial precedent for reproductive rights, the right to abortion care, and the right to privacy and autonomy. Now, millions of women will be denied the right to make personal and private health care decisions and, in certain instances, be criminalized for doing so."

"History has been clear: denying access to abortions will not curb their frequency. Instead, millions of women will now be forced to seek abortion care through unsafe means – a practice that’s already one of the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide."

“I’m proud that Illinois has already codified Roe and enshrined access to safe abortion care for generations to come. This decision is the culmination of a decades-long attack by extreme politicians to exert power and control over women’s bodily autonomy. Make no mistake: if Republicans take control of Congress, they will make passing a nationwide abortion ban that overrides states like Illinois a priority. Additionally, they could use similar rationale to target basic rights like contraception, in vitro fertilization, and even same-sex marriage. 

“An overwhelming majority of Americans support reproductive freedom, including access to safe abortion care. As long as I have a vote in Congress, I will vote to protect reproductive rights and codify the protections of Roe to preserve abortion access for women in every state.” 

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago

"We welcome this important ruling and the opportunity it creates for a national conversation on protecting human life in the womb and promoting human dignity at all stages of life," Cardinal Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago said Friday in a statement.

"This moment should serve as a turning point in our dialogue about the place an unborn child holds in our nation, about our responsibility to listen to women and support them through pregnancies and after the birth of their children, and about the need to refocus our national priorities to support families, particularly those in need."

"Make no mistake, because this ruling regrettably will have little impact on abortion in Illinois, as there are virtually no restrictions here, we will continue to advocate strongly for legal protections for unborn children," the statement continued. "And we will redouble our efforts to work with all to build a culture that values the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all."

"This ruling is not the end of a journey, but rather a fresh start. It underscores the need to understand those who disagree with us, and to inculcate an ethic of dialogue and cooperation. Let us begin by examining our national conscience, taking stock of those dark places in our society and in our hearts that turn to violence and deny the humanity of our brothers and sisters, and get to work building up the common good by choosing life."

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.

“The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision is full of contradictions, and it is uncaring. It is a miscarriage of justice," Jackson said Friday in a statement.

"Women must use the power of their vote this fall and get these people out of office.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D)

“I refuse to let my daughters grow up in a world with fewer rights than I had," U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said Friday in a statement.

"As Republicans continue their march toward a nationwide abortion ban, I will do everything in my power to ensure that Illinois remains a safe haven for all women seeking reproductive care. It is as important as ever that the Senate acts to codify Roe v. Wade into law so that every American in every state has equal access to basic, necessary healthcare—regardless of their skin color, zip code or income.”

Read Sen. Duckworth's full statement in the thread below.

Catholic Conference of Illinois

"We are pleased with the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that has overturned the landmark abortion case of Roe vs. Wade," the organization said Friday in a statement.

"The Catholic Church through its various ministries interacts daily with women in unexpected pregnancies; every woman’s situation is different, yet one thing is always the same – an abortion is not the answer. The Catholic Church has always provided a safe haven for expectant women and remains poised to provide aid to all women-in-need through real assistance and educational resources."

"Locally, we fully understand that this Supreme Court decision will not reduce the availability of abortion in Illinois. With that reality as a backdrop, state government has nothing to lose and everything to gain by working towards reducing the number of abortion and increasing assistance to help pregnant mothers in need.

Our mission will continue to focus on the real decisions surrounding pregnancy, and we look forward to a day when the law, and our culture, will recognize what we all know to be true – an unborn child deserves full protection because life begins at conception and every human life has dignity and value and should be protected by the law. Together, we can change Illinois’ culture, support mothers in need and welcome all new lives."

State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

“The GOP-backed Supreme Court sent reproductive health care and the right to abortion spiraling back50 years," State Sen. Feigenholtz said Friday in a statement."

“An extremist minority of anti-choice officials have pushed anti-abortion rhetoric with the end goal of overturning Roe v. Wade. This has been their strategy for 50 years; this has always been their endgame. 

“Fortunately, Illinois was prepared. We passed HB40 and the Reproductive Health Act, which removed outdated laws enshrined in statute by anti-choice zealots and made Illinois a beacon for reproductive rights. As a result, Illinois is now ready to welcome those that need reproductive health care. 

“We will fight to keep Illinois a pro-choice state and continue building capacity for out-of-state patients. 

“We marched and fought and won to guarantee the fundamental right to bodily autonomy, and we are not stopping now.”

March for Life Chicago

“With more than 95 pregnancy resource centers in Illinois, the pro-life movement leads the Midwest in serving preborn children and their families," Kevin Grillot, Executive Director of the March for Life Chicago on Friday said in a statement.

"For far too long, the United States Supreme Court has denied citizens the ability to protect preborn life in their state. Today, the March for Life Chicago recognizes this momentous step in protecting the right to life,”

"In a June 13, 2022, Chicago Tribune article, Pritzker said that abortion ‘is another arrow in our quiver’ when referring to attracting businesses in Illinois.”

State Rep. Adam Neimerg (R-Dieterich)

"This is a great day for the pro-life movement,” Rep. Adam Niemerg said Friday in a statement.

"But this is now a states rights issue and we have more work to do in Illinois.”

“The Governor has called for a special session of the General Assembly to take up more legislation to appease pro-choice activists. Instead of looking for ways to expand abortion the Governor should focus on services to help expecting mothers before and after pregnancy. We need to give mothers options, not limitations.”

Darren Bailey, Republican Candidate for Governor in the Illinois Primary

"Friends, we must put our state back on track to allow our children and grandchildren to stay in and thrive in Illinois," Darren Bailey, GOP candidate for Illinois Governor in the 2022 Illinois Primary.

"I’m in this fight because I want us all to be able to watch our kids and grandkids grow up in our backyards, and not just on Facebook. It's time to get Illinois growing again."

Read the full tweet thread below.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

"What ths decision will do is forece women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, or seek dangerous and unrelguated means for an abortion," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Friday in a Tweet.

"Under this ruling, contraception, same-sex marriage and other rights are now under attack. Illinois and Cook County will remain a safe haven for women, but as we deal with this harsh reality, we must continue to strengthen our resolve and fight back."

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