Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill explicitly offering protections to Illinois healthcare providers working on reproductive and/or gender-affirming care issues for their patients on Jan. 13.
The bill, HB4664, also protects out-of-state clinicians who come to Illinois to perform services that are legal here but may be illegal in other states.
Pritzker later stated on Twitter that, "Here in Illinois, we hold certain ideals: Abortion is health care and a medical decision should be made between a patient and their doctorno one else.
"Illinois once again is leading this fight as we fulfill the promise to uphold reproductive health care rights and freedoms."
In the wake of the United States Supreme Court's overturning of its Roe v. Wade decision, numerous statesoftentimes through "trigger laws" automatically criminalizing abortions after the reversal of Roesqueezed out service providers, leaving their residents few options save for traveling to states such as Illinois for reproductive services.
Other states began actions criminalizing doctors offering gender-affirming care to young transgender individuals as well. The legislation Pritzker signed Jan. 13 broadly states that "the laws of [Illinois] govern in any case or controversy heard in the State related to lawful health care activity," indicating that persons can access, and physicians can provide, healthcare on demand without fear of legal retribution from the state.
The governor signed the bill flanked by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, who was chief sponsor of the bill in the House.
In a Jan. 13 statement, Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, thanked Pritzker for "signing this law to protect health care refugees forced to flee their home state to receive abortion and gender-affirming therapy in Illinois. We applaud this law for including crucial protections for Illinois providers, plus clinicians traveling to our state to offer care that patients need and deserve, and allowing practitioners to provide the medical procedures to the extent of their training. In the ever-shifting post-Roe national landscape, Illinois is an oasis for reproductive care. With this bill now in effect, Illinois is a leader in the fight for bodily autonomy and a haven to those seeking and providing essential health care."
HB4664 also directs insurers to provide coverage for "abortifacients, hormonal therapy, and human immunodeficiency virus pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP] and post-exposure prophylaxis [PEP]."