Thousands of signatures from Illinoisans opposed to a pair of controversial abortion bills are the result of more women understanding that the so-called "right" to terminate pregnancies is not good for them, according to one prominent pro-life advocate.
"The mask has slipped," Illinois Citizens for Ethics-Political Action Committee (ICE-PAC) Chair Mary-Louise Hengesbaugh told Prairie State Wire. "Advocates for these bills are not pro-woman, they are putting clinic profits before the safety of women and girls. This is why so many women are getting involved in opposing this harmful legislation."
On Wednesday, May 15, ICE-PAC delivered the 15,774 signatures to the office of longtime Illinois' state House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), Hengesbaugh said. The signatures were inked to petitions circulated the prior eight weeks opposing the two abortion bills being considered in the state's General Assembly: the Repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, House Bill 2467, and the Reproductive Health Act, House Bill 2495.
ICE-PAC Chair Mary-Louise Hengesbaugh | LinkedIn
"These petitions were gathered at 38 churches, 11 of which are in DuPage County," Hengesbaugh said. "Additional churches not included in this number coordinated letter-writing campaigns. More churches are still running petition drives."
The petitions have attracted signatures from women new to the pro-life cause, which is significant, Hengesbaugh added.
"Women who have not previously been active have become involved in voicing concerns about this dangerous, anti-woman and anti-girl legislation," she said.
The House bills, along with companion bills in the state Senate, Senate Bill 1594 and Senate Bill 1942, were introduced into the General Assembly this session with the intent to "normalize" abortion in Illinois, ICE-PAC said in a post on its website. That would not be good for women and girls, Hengesbaugh insisted.
"Repealing parental notice would empower sex traffickers and male predators to use abortion to conceal evidence of their crimes against minor girls," she said. "The use of abortion to perpetuate the modern-day slavery of sex trafficking is real. Illinois ranked 10th in the nation in human trafficking in 2018."
"The study showed that more than half of the survivors reported having at least one abortion, and 30 percent had more than one abortion," Hengesbaugh said. "More than half said the abortion was not their choice. The victims reported that the pressure from pimps to continue the trade did not allow the time for them to carry the pregnancy. The average age of a trafficked girl is 12-14."
Outside the sex-trafficking trade, 32 percent of teen pregnancies are fathered by men older than 20, Hengesbaugh said, citing National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy findings.
"Employees of abortion clinics in multiple states have been videotaped stating they have provided abortions on minors at the request of the older males who brought them to the clinic," Hengesbaugh said.
Meanwhile, legislation aimed at regulating the abortion industry has had positive results for women and girls, Hengesbaugh said.
"When parental notice became effective in Illinois in 2013, abortions on minors dropped 57 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health," she said. "Who are the losers with parental notice? Human sex traffickers, pimps, male predators. Who are the winners? Young girls, parents who care about their young girls, all of us."