Illinois loses humanity if abortion law happens, Jesiel claims
A bill that passed the House on Tuesday will remove the humanity from an unborn child, even though several other state laws rely on that definition, Rep. Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) argued on the House floor before the vote.
Jesiel said HB 40 would also force taxpayers to cover abortions despite their beliefs.
“House Bill 40 will force every Illinois citizen to pay for abortions for those on Medicaid and for state employees done at any time, through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, even when the unborn child can feel pain and survive outside the womb,” Jesiel said. “In addition to this, the bill will strike out the original text of the 1975 Illinois abortion law which expressly states ‘without in any way restricting the right of privacy of a woman or the right of a woman to an abortion under those decisions, the General Assembly of the state of Illinois do solemnly declare and find in reaffirmation of the longstanding policy of the state that the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is therefore a legal person for purposes of the unborn child’s right to life and is entitled to the right to life from conception under the laws and the constitution of the state.' "
HB 40, introduced by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), would expand abortion coverage for Medicaid recipients and state employees using state health insurance. It also removes language concerning the aforementioned declaration that an unborn child is legally a human being.
Jesiel questioned why such an erasure is necessary, especially since several laws are dependent on the definition.
“My question here is just simply: Why is it necessary to remove from our laws that an unborn child is a human being?" she said. "Currently, three state statutes rely on this definition. Under Illinois Revenue Statute 720, Section 5, if a pregnant woman is murdered and her unborn child dies, we recognize the death of the child as a homicide. Under that section, we also recognize the death of the unborn child as a reckless homicide in the case of a motor vehicle accident. And finally, if the unborn child of a pregnant woman is intentionally murdered, with the exception of abortion, then the [murderer] is convicted of voluntary manslaughter.”
Jesiel said a child is alive as soon as its heart starts beating in the womb. To remove the declaration that an unborn child is a human being is to remove the humanity in Illinois, she said.
“We are changing the culture in our state -- a culture that has always recognized the humanity of those in the womb,” Jesiel said. “Who are we as a state -- who are we as a culture -- when can’t even recognize the humanity of an unborn child?”
She concluded that Illinois should instead focus on providing support for pregnant mothers and making adoption more available.
“Rather than expanding this availability, why don’t we spend those dollars on taking care of pregnant women and adoptive families who wait months and compete with many other adoptive families to be able to welcome children in their lives,” she said. “Why don’t we instead demonstrate respect and compassion for those who find themselves in this situation but also respect for life for every Illinois resident.”