This commentary was written the week of May 14, just before this writer left on a family trip. I knew the odds were high that our unpredictable President would generate headlines outdating almost any subject I might choose to write in advance. So, this week I’m sticking with two brief news items that are local, very timely and actionable.
Last Thursday, I attended a gathering that focused on very real threats in Illinois that could take away women’s reproductive rights. We heard comments from State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, guest speaker Sheila Nielsen and Personal PAC President Terry Cosgrove. The personal anecdotes from each of them brought home how much progress our society (at least in some states) has made in the fight for a woman’s right to control her own body. It was shocking to hear how restricted and ultimately dangerous things were not so many years ago. Back alley abortions, an entire ward at Cook County Hospital devoted to women hospitalized after those crude procedures, women traveling to Mexico for help.
And there are people today who would welcome a return to that nightmare. Mr. Cosgrove mentioned that recently the state of Oklahoma established a law similar to one that, years ago, actually existed in our state. It gives any man who has impregnated a woman the right to stop that women from ending her pregnancy – even if the man is her rapist!
Now, with President Trump’s appointment of anti-choice judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the real possibility for at least one more SCOTUS appointment by Trump (or President Pence), the Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 could be overturned. Such an outcome could radically affect women in Illinois. It is feared that if Roe v. Wade disappears, Illinois legislation passed in 1975 would trigger rules that would pretty much automatically ban abortions in our state.
Because of this potential threat, our Illinois Legislators have passed HB40. The bill removes the anti-choice “trigger” language from the 1975 Act, ensuring that women’s health care will be protected in our state, regardless of what happens to the Supreme Court. The bill just needs the Governor’s signature.
When Bruce Rauner was running for governor, he filled out a lengthy Personal PAC questionnaire. In it the Governor clearly stated that he supported a woman’s right to choose and as Governor he would defend that right. But now that he is running for reelection, he appears that he is trying to keep his conservative Republican base happy by declaring he will veto HB40, saying some of its language is too controversial among certain Illinois residents. Governor Rauner is going back on the word he gave to women voters of Illinois that he would defend their rights.
With that background in mind, the message Thursday night was to encourage everyone to contact Governor Rauner right away, telling him to Sign HB40. His offices are receiving hundreds of call each day. They do not ask for names and addresses but they do keep a tally of each day’s calls. They’re seeing numbers that the Governor can’t ignore. But the pressure must not let up.
So that is today’s “to do” list. Don’t delay. Contact the Governor and demand that he protect access to reproductive health care for all women in our state. Call the Governor’s office at 312-814-2121 and 217-782-0244 (a call to each office will have double impact). Or, send him a message via personalpac.org/take-action. Ask Governor Rauner to fulfill the 2014 promise he (and his wife) made to the women of Illinois. Insist he sign HB 40!
The second piece of this week’s “timely” commentary is a networking event tomorrow night. It’s been set up by our NTDO Political Action Committee. But it doesn’t involve signing up for any specific political action. It’s strictly social. To underscore that point it’s being heldat the Wilmette Wine Cellar because wine is a very social beverage.
You’ll get together with folks who you may have met on some campaign trail in the past. Or, you’ll meet new friends who share your concern about today’s issues.
The truth is, there’s never been a stranger political time than the one were experiencing right now, in both Washington D.C. and Springfield. Banding together with friends is an effective way to deal with this insanity. So, stop by the Wilmette Wine Cellar tomorrow night from 6pm to 8pm.
NTDO member since 1973
Good News! We now have a new NTD Office Manager. Our new office manager is Joan Fishman. On top of being a very nice person, Joan has impressive administrative experience. As the summer NTD activities progress, many of you will have opportunities to meet her.