Newly proposed legislation in Illinois would allow women to sue men over unwanted pregnancies, sexual assault, and domestic violence. The bill, called “The EXpanding Abortion Services Act,” was filed by Democratic state representative Kelly Cassidy on September 14 and, with its acronym of “TEXAS,” is a direct response to sweeping anti-abortion measures in the state. Cassidy’s proposal aims to impose new civil penalties for rapists and abusers in Illinois and protect women.
- Texas isn’t just outlawing abortion. In fact, they’re encouraging anyone with anti-choice beliefs to turn in those who get an abortion or help others get an abortion for a $10,000 cash reward. You don’t have to know the woman who’s getting an abortion or ever have laid eyes on her. You don’t even have to live in the state of Texas. Unsurprisingly, terrible people are already taking advantage of this horrific policy.
- Illinois’ “TEXAS Act” (HB4146) aims to answer some pretty awful questions. “What would the implication for Illinois be if we adopted a similar approach? What is the impact on our civil court system? What is the impact of deputizing neighbors to turn each other in for money?” Cassidy said prior to the bill’s introduction in Springfield.
- HB4146 would give women some power. If passed, the law would allow anyone to sue someone who causes an unwanted pregnancy. It would also create a public abortion fund for those who don’t live in the state but require access to abortion services.
- It’s the exact inverse of the policy in Texas. Whereas Texas encourages lawsuits by anyone against anyone seeking or aiding in the providing of abortion services, HB4146 would allow anyone to sue anyone else for unintended pregnancy regardless of circumstances. The same goes for lawsuits involving sexual assault, abuse, or domestic violence, with damages starting at $10,000.
- Cases that are won would benefit a good cause. If any of these cases were to succeed in court, half of any money won in the settlement would go into a public state fund to provide abortions for residents of Texas and other states where needed.
- Unsurprisingly, pro-life groups are against the legislation. Isn’t it funny how women’s bodies are fair game for policing and controlling but the mere suggestion of policing men’s actions elicits a violent reaction? This allows women to seek damages if they become pregnant after consensual sex,” Illinois Right to Life Action Executive Director Amy Gehrke said. “The fact that they will be taking money from people to fund abortion. There are so many aspects of this bill that make it completely unserious.”
- HB4146 has a long way to go. While it’s been introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives, it needs to pass the House, the Senate, and then get Gov. JB Pritzker’s approval before becoming law. Fingers crossed!