A non-binding referendum concerning birth control and prescription insurance programs will be placed on November's ballot under state legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday.
The advisory ballot referendum will ask voters in the state whether any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage should be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage.
“A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has again brought the issue of women’s rights to the forefront,” Quinn said in a statement, referring to the June 30 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The nation's high court ruled that some employers do not have to provide contraception coverage as part of their employees' health insurance plan if such coverage violates the employer's religious beliefs.
“I think Illinois’ voters will agree that healthcare is a human right, and the Affordable Care Act is meant to give all Americans access to decent, affordable healthcare," Quinn added. "That means full access to medical treatment for every woman in America, regardless of who they are or where they work. Women should be able to make their own healthcare decisions. This referendum will help continue the progress we’ve made to protect and empower women in Illinois.”
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the referendum legislation, HB 5755.
"The ongoing attacks on women's access to healthcare have made more than clear that there is a coordinated and focused plan to turn back the clock on women's healthcare rights,” Cassidy added. “Today we are asking women and the men who care about them to send a loud and clear message that healthcare decisions are between a woman and her doctor, not her employer."