Illinois Catholic officials rally against proposal to extend abortions through third trimester

Cardinal Blase Cupich and Catholic bishops rallied in Springfield Thursday to press lawmakers to drop what they say they see as potentially dangerous legislation. One of the bills would allow a woman to abort a fetus right up to her due date.

Cardinal Cupich is asking parishioners to vote down House Bill 2495 and Senate Bill 1594.

"I come to question the unlimited right of one human being to end the life of another," said Cardinal Cupich.

The Reproductive Health Act, as one of the bills is called, would repeal Illinois law that right now permits medical workers to decline to prescribe birth control or participate in an abortion.

"Does the state of Ilinois really want to become a place where people are forced to do things in their work place that are against their most deeply held beliefs?" asked Cardinal Cupich.

The bills take other measures too. Minors would no longer need consent from a parent before getting an abortion, but the A-C-L-U says minors who don't tell tend to have good reason and need to be protected.

"The minors that go to court rather than tell their parents do fear abuse, neglect, or being thrown out of their house," said Colleen Connell, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois Executive Director.

Connell has been with the A-C-L-U for nearly 40 years and says the country's never been this close to seeing Roe v. Wade overturned. That's why she says it's important for Illinois to act now.

"You know we really do risk being catapulted backwards in time where women did not have the legal right to make these decisions," said Connell.

The Reproductive Health Act would also allow a woman to choose to abort even on her due date. While true, Connell says that's a minute point because women just don't abort that late.

"That does not happen. I cannot be more emphatic about that. Quite frankly, that is a lie," said Connell.

"Who lives, who dies? Who decides? The state and its leaders have not only a responsibility but also a vested interest in defending the sacredness and value of every human life," said Cardinal Cupich.

Governor Pritzker has vowed to make Illinois one of the most progressive states when it comes to women's reproductive rights.