Former Rep. Breen condemns 'radical' abortion bill
Everything about Illinois' new abortion measure gives former Republican state Rep. Peter Breen great pause and trepidation.
“Senate Bill 25 was rammed through late in the session after there had been commitments that the bill would not be called because it is the most controversial bill on a social issue that has been considered by the General Assembly in at least the last five years,” Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society, told the DuPage Policy Journal. “SB 25 is the most radical abortion-promoting bill of its type in the country. The people of Illinois are not in favor of radical abortion, pro-abortion measures like these.”
Breen argues that not even all those that favor abortion support the bill that passed the House over the Memorial Day weekend, spliced with language that was only made public hours before lawmakers were set to take a vote. Also knows as the Reproductive Health Act, the bill stipulates that abortion be established as a “fundamental right” while also repealing the state’s ban on partial-birth abortions.
“Even Illinoisans who would consider themselves pro-choice on abortion are not in favor of repealing all of the license requirements," Breen said. "Even Illinoisans who are pro-choice on abortion are not in favor of legalizing third-trimester abortions and other dismemberment abortions on fully formed unborn babies. When we look at our democracy here in the state of Illinois, our top values should be free speech, freedom of the press and free exercise of religion. Instead, this bill now elevates the right to an abortion above free speech, freedom of the press and free exercise of religion. Fundamental means foundational. It is a right our democracy depends upon. That’s what the legislators who voted for this said.”
During the floor debate, Republican House members elected to grant all of their floor time to Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), who is eight months pregnant. While some have lamented it sends the message that men don’t have the right to have a public opinion on the issue, Breen said he had no problem with the strategy for several different reasons.
“For me as a lawyer who would likely be addressing issues on this bill in court, the legislators that opposed this matter did a great job in establishing the record,” he said. “Avery Bourne has a legal background as well. As people that are pro-life, we use visual imagery and when I watched the news in Chicago the next morning discussing the floor debate I saw angry Democrats trying to defend late-term abortions, and on the Republican side I saw a wonderful, vibrant, eight-month pregnant young woman defending the pro-life side. The visual imagery of that House debate likely said more to the people of Illinois.”
In the end, Breen said nothing about the bill strikes him as prioritizing the health and well-being of women.
“Illinois has a history of filthy abortion clinics,” he said. “In the last decade alone, at least four abortion clinics in Illinois have either been shut down entirely or sanctioned for significant health and safety violations. This bill repeals the statute that gave the state of Illinois the legal authority to do the inspections that resulted in those clinics closing. This bill opens the door for dirty, filthy abortion clinics to again operate in the state of Illinois with no oversight from the department of public health.”
Finally, Breen said he finds it disheartening that some Democratic legislators could say one thing and then act quite differently when voting on the issue.
“There are a number of Democrats who would privately tell you that they are people of deep religious faith and yet some of those same Democrats will vote in a way that absolutely violates that faith because in the [current] Democratic Party those legislators would not be able to keep their seats,” he said. “Regular Democratic voters are going to have to take back their party from the radicals who have taken over.”