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Nevada, Illinois approve legislation that would protect access to abortion

The two bills strike down decades-old bans on the controversial procedure. Read More...

Bucking a trend that has seen multiple states enact laws that restrict abortion, Illinois and Nevada lawmakers have voted to protect women’s access to the procedure.

The Illinois Legislature passed Senate Bill 25, known as the Reproductive Health Act, on a 34-20 vote late Friday, according to CNN T, -4.02% Earlier in the week, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, said on Twitter TWTR, -1.88%  that he would sign the bill if it passed.

The bill stipulates that women have a “fundamental right” to receive an abortion and further clarifies that fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses do not have independent rights. Additionally, the bill repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, which penalized doctors for performing abortions.

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The new legislation also reversed the state’s ban on partial-birth abortions and established insurance requirements for covering abortions.

Illinois lawmakers passed the bill in anticipation of the Supreme Court changing its stance on whether a right to have an abortion exists nationally.

“There’s a very real possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in the next few years,” State Senator Melinda Bush, chief sponsor of Senate Bill 25, said in a statement following its passage. “The Reproductive Health Act guarantees that women in Illinois have the right to make decisions about their bodies, regardless of what happens at the federal level.”

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Also on Friday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, signed into law Senate Bill 179, also known as the Trust Nevada Women Act. Like the legislation in Illinois, the bill struck down pre-existing criminal penalties associated with abortion.

Additionally, the Nevada legislation changed procedures doctors must follow. Instead of warning patients about emotional repercussions of the procedure, physicians are now given the mandate to lay out “the nature and consequences” of having an abortion. Doctors are also no longer required to ascertain a woman’s marital status or age before providing her with an abortion.

Meanwhile, a judge in Missouri temporarily blocked state officials from closing the state’s only abortion clinic. Officials had declined to renew the clinics license, claiming it had numerous violations, according to Politico. Had the clinic closed, Missouri would have become the first state not to have a facility providing abortions since the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. Along with Missouri, five other states only have one clinic that provides the procedure.

In recent weeks, multiple states, including Missouri, Louisiana and Alabama, have passed laws restricting women’s access to abortion.

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