The House Agriculture -- yes, agriculture -- Committee unanimously passed two bills to further regulate abortion -- yes, abortion -- in Illinois. In front of a packed house of protesters, some wearing shirts reading "Women are not livestock," the committee approved a measure (HB 3156) to regulate clinics that provide abortions with the same standards as outpatient surgical clinics. Another bill (HB 2093) would force licensed personnel in abortion clinics to report suspected child abuse.
The setting of the votes is perhaps more controversial than the bills. Terry Cosgrove, the President of the powerful pro-choice group Personal PAC, told Progress Illinois the actions taken in the House were "pure politics." He added, "It's very disappointing and particularly insulting that women's health would be considered next to livestock and corn." When asked how the bills dealing with abortion made it to the Agriculture Committee, the sponsors played dumb.
Cosgrove said he looks forward to watching the bills develop. He noted the irony of the conservative support for the measures, given the costs the bills would add to the state. "It will be very interesting to see the fiscal note on [HB 3156] because it's going to cost the state a lot of money to enforce these regulations." Calling the bill "legislation that's in search of a problem," Cosgrove said that if the bill gets a vote in the House, it will be the first time in years abortion made it to the floor, and he's interested to see how the new members, in the face of redistricting, vote.