Chicago: Mayor Lightfoot Signs Executive Order Prohibiting City Agencies from Participating in Any Investigation or Proceeding Related to Reproductive Healthcare Initiated by An Anti-Abortion State
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CHICAGO – Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot signed an Executive Order, prohibiting any City agency from participating in an investigation or proceeding initiated in or by another state that seeks to impose civil or criminal liability or professional sanctions against a person or entity for providing legal reproductive healthcare in the State of Illinois and/or aiding any person seeking legal reproductive healthcare in Illinois. In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the City of Chicago is taking these steps to further safeguard those providing critical healthcare, namely reproductive, obstetric, and gynecological services.

"Through this Executive Order, I am taking yet another step to help to safeguard all those who come to our city for reproductive healthcare," said Mayor Lightfoot. "I am proud of the continued collaboration between Planned Parenthood, the Chicago Department of Public Health, members of City Council and other City departments, who are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone in Chicago is able to receive the care they need and maintain control over their bodies."

In May 2022, Mayor Lightfoot announced the Justice for All Pledge, which pledged to protect and create fair access to opportunities and resources that enhance and facilitate everyone's ability to thrive. The signing of this Executive Order doubles down on that commitment and emphasizes that the City will do everything in its power to ensure patients and providers are safe while seeking and providing critical medical care in Chicago. It is further backed by the City's $500,000 investment to support providers that assist patients seeking abortions through lodging, transportation, and follow-up care.

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"Despite what is happening in states around Illinois, abortion is still safe and legal in our state and in Chicago. Everyone in Illinois, whether they are a resident or not, has a fundamental right to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion," said Tonya Tucker, Chief Financial Officer, Planned Parenthood of Illinois. "We stand in solidarity with Mayor Lightfoot and we wholeheartedly support today's executive order which ensures people's right to freely travel to states like Illinois where abortion is legal to access the care they need and deserve. Planned Parenthood is committed to providing abortion care to patients, no matter who they are or where they live."

"This executive order represents a meaningful step to help protect people from being criminalized for exercising autonomy over their bodies. We are committed to the collaborative work needed to create the strongest possible measures to make Chicago a sanctuary for reproductive and gender affirming care" said Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, 33rd Ward.

"I applaud Mayor Lightfoot for taking this important step to protect reproductive rights in Chicago. With this new executive order, we are showing our residents and the nation that bodily autonomy will be respected in Chicago, and that the City will play no part in investigations for those seeking or providing healthcare. I look forward to continuing our efforts to protect bodily autonomy and reproductive rights," said Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa, 35th Ward.

"With the support of Mayor Lightfoot, my fellow Aldermen, and some of the most fundamental City departments across Chicago, I'm pleased to be a part of this executive order. Protecting our healthcare and reproductive rights is a commitment I have pledged to all the residents we serve, and our effort will continue thus making Chicago a place where anyone's rights are protected," said Alderman Matt Martin, 47th Ward.

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"As a physician and a woman, I know that decreased access to abortion care is not only a public health crisis, but it's a personal crisis for individuals and families. Through our Healthy Chicago 2025 program we are committed to building a more equitable, safe, and healthy Chicago for all, and our actions today re-enforce that commitment," said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. "Abortion is part of comprehensive reproductive health care and this executive order grants protection for City departments and health care providers to continue meeting the standard of care when serving patients."

Though federal protections for abortions went away with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion is still legal in Illinois and available in Chicago. Many states passed 'trigger laws' that banned abortion when Roe v. Wade was struck down. Illinois had a trigger law keeping abortion legal, the Reproductive Health Act, which was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker in 2019.

"When the Dobbs decision was first leaked, I challenged my colleagues at all levels of government to get creative about ensuring safety and access to care for patients coming from out of state to access care that's been prohibited in their home states Once again, Mayor Lightfoot and the city have taken up that challenge and acted decisively. As we in the state continue our work towards comprehensive legislative solutions addressing challenges facing patients and providers, I am grateful that the city is in a position to issue today's executive order prohibiting the City's involvement in any investigation or proceeding against a provider or patient," said Illinois State Representative, Kelly Cassidy.

To learn more about services and resources available for those seeking reproductive healthcare, visit Chicago.gov/abortioncare.

Filed Under: Government, City

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