Illinois 'will fight like hell' against overturning of Roe v. Wade decision, Pritzker says

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois lawmakers called Tuesday a dark day, in reaction to the leaked Supreme Court document published by Politico. Even if that document is not final, lawmakers said this is an emergency.

Pritzker was surrounded by leaders from all over the state, gathering for a news conference in the Thompson Center. 

They said they will work to keep abortion legal in Illinois, now that it appears the Supreme Court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion nearly 50 years ago. 


Pritzker said Illinois will be an island, surrounded by anti-choice states, unless voters act to elect pro-choice candidates. 

"Illinois is a beacon of hope in increasingly dark world, we will fight like hell not just for the women of Illinois but for every person in our state and every person across this nation who believes, not in limiting civil rights and human rights but in expanding them. That is freedom," Pritzker said.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it would make abortion illegal in 26 states including states right next door to Illinois: Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, of Chicago’s North Side, said she felt targeted by the news. 

"I feel like my life and my family’s life is teetering at the top of a Jenga tower that we are watching crash in real time: My marriage, my children's relationship with their other mother, my right to bodily autonomy," Cassidy said.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said Black women would be disproportionately affected.

"I think about Black women who would literally die," Stratton said. "Structural racism and misogyny have already claimed far too many lives in our community with Black women's maternal mortality rate already two to three times higher than that of white women."

The lawmakers at Tuesday's news conference predicted that rights for women, minorities, immigrants, and transgender people will all be vulnerable.  

Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed Pritzker's sentiments Tuesday.

"For as long as I am mayor and I think this city remains a bastion of inclusivity and equity, we are not going to turn our back, the clock," Lightfoot said. "No matter what the Supreme Court says, no matter what other states do."

Just in case the landmark case was overturned, in 2019 Illinois established in state law the right to Reproductive Health Care, including abortion.

In December 2020, Pritzker signed a measure to repeal the last state law on the books that restricted abortion right, a law that stopped minors from having to give parental notification before having an abortion.

Right to life advocates are against the governor's push.

"We are talking about girls 11, 12-years-old that are minors starting June 1st can be brought to any Illinois abortion clinic and parents will not be told," said attorney Mary Hallan FioRito.

"If you have an appointment with a reproductive health provider in Chicago, those appointments stand," Lightfoot said.

The Chicago Sun Times says in 2019, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported more than 7,500 non-residents received abortions compared with 5,500 in 2017.