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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of life legislation this session

UltrasoundCaptureSmallState lawmakers have introduced more than 6,200 bills for this session, and these two are on our pro-life radar screen.

The Good: CCI is again supporting the Ultrasound Opportunity Act in the form of House Bill 2701, which simply calls for women who are more than eight weeks pregnant and are seeking an abortion to be offered the opportunity to receive and view an ultrasound of their unborn child. They are free to say no.

Abortion providers routinely perform ultrasounds before an abortion in order to accurately determine the gestational age of the unborn child and to rule out medical complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy.

Additionally, women who receive and view an ultrasound can then make a more fully informed choice. The Women's Center of Greater Chicagoland four years ago began offering ultrasounds to pregnant women considering an abortion, and only 10 women have declined the offer. Meanwhile, 71 percent of the thousands who did view their ultrasound decided against an abortion.

House Bill 2701 is being sponsored by state Rep. Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake, and a slate of bipartisan lawmakers. The measure has been assigned to the House Human Services Committee.

The Bad: We do not expect the Ultrasound Opportunity Act to make it out of committee. Similar legislation was filed last year, and was assigned to the Informed Consent Subcommittee of the House Human Services Committee. Legislation is usually sent to a subcommittee to die, which happened with last year's initiative. UPDATE: We were right. House Bill 2701 was sent to a subcommittee. It will likely not get a hearning.

The Ugly: House Bill 4013, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, allows for taxpayer money to be used to pay for elective abortions in Illinois AND to fund grants to organizations that refer, counsel for and perform abortions.

The legislation removes the ban on state employee's health insurance plans from paying for elective abortions, as well as the ban on using public money to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid patients.

The measure would force all Illinois taxpayers into supporters of abortion, with no regard for their individual beliefs and conscience. The federal government since 1976 has rejected this rationale with the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding from paying for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother.

House Bill 4013 passed the House Human Services Committee on a 8-6 vote on March 18. It now heads to the House floor for debate. We will keep you posted.