City Council Passes Bodily Autonomy Ordinance in an Effort to Protect Those Seeking Reproductive Healthcare
This Ordinance Will Prohibit the Participation of City Agencies in Any Investigation or Proceedings Related to Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Care by Anti-Abortion States
CHICAGO — Today, City Council passed the Bodily Autonomy Ordinance introduced by Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, and Ald. Matt Martin that codifies the prohibitions outlined in Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s July 2022 Executive Order. These prohibitions include ensuring that no City department or agency will participate in any investigation or proceeding related to reproductive and gender-affirming care by another jurisdiction, namely anti-abortion states.
This new law is critical as anti-abortion states increasingly try to impose civil or criminal liability or professional sanctions against people or entities for seeking or providing legal reproductive healthcare in the State of Illinois and/or aiding any person seeking legal reproductive healthcare in Illinois.
As a result of this new law, the City will work with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR), the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Women, and the Advisory Council on LGBTQ+ to inform the policy that will dictate for all City departments the prohibitions in this law and outline processes the City will follow when a request from an anti-abortion state is received.
Since the leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in May 2022, Mayor Lightfoot has doubled down on her commitments to protecting the fundamental right to reproductive healthcare.
“Through this ordinance, the City has codified its commitment to defending people's fundamental, reproductive healthcare rights," said Mayor Lightfoot. "This effort will prohibit City agencies from collaborating in investigations with anti-abortion states and further make Chicago a safe haven for those seeking reproductive care.”
In May 2022, Mayor Lightfoot announced the Justice for All Pledge, which commits to protect and create fair access to opportunities and resources that enhance and facilitate everyone’s ability to thrive. The codification of these prohibitions reinforces that commitment and emphasizes that the City will do everything in its power to ensure patients and providers are safe while seeking and providing critical medical care in Chicago. It is further backed by the City’s $500,000 investment to support providers that assist patients seeking abortions through lodging, transportation, and follow-up care.
“Our bodily autonomy is fundamental to our humanity. This ordinance seeks to protect the humanity of anyone seeking reproductive or gender affirming care at a moment when our bodies and our ability to control them is under attack,” said Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, 33rd Ward.
“Lawmakers in states surrounding Chicago want to control the personal healthcare decisions of millions of people under the guise of conservative values. Here in Chicago, however, lawmakers are focusing our collective energies on protecting people,” said Alderman Matt Martin, 47th Ward. “We won’t intrude on people’s reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare decisions, and we won’t allow City resources to be used to enforce draconian, dystopian laws from other states.”
“With the passage of this ordinance, Chicago continues to grow as a sanctuary city, as a place where everyone’s fundamental rights are protected,” said Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward. “I applaud the Mayor, my colleagues, and the advocates for moving with haste to ensure Chicago is defending resident and visitors from out-of-state anti-choice and anti-trans laws.”
"This ordinance builds on Mayor Lightfoot's Executive Order and strengthens CDPH's commitment to protecting reproductive health and gender-affirming care. These are human rights that Chicagoans and all people deserve. We owe so much to the immigrant and refugee rights movement for paving the way for these protections,” said Dr. Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
“Planned Parenthood of Illinois fully supports the Bodily Autonomy Ordinance. As one of the largest providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care in the city, we applaud Alderperson Rosanna Rodriguez Sanchez and the City Council for passing an ordinance that protects every person’s fundamental right to make their own health care decisions without fear of intimidation, harassment, or being denied care, and also aims to protect those who seek, provide, or assist others in obtaining reproductive health care including abortion and gender-affirming care,” said Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “By passing the Bodily Autonomy Ordinance, the City of Chicago is sending the clear message that no matter where a person lives, what they look like, who they love, or how much money they make, everyone should have the freedom to decide what is best for themselves and their families when it comes to reproductive and gender-affirming care.”
Though federal protections for abortions were dissolved with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion is still legal in Illinois and available in Chicago. Many states passed ‘trigger laws’ that banned abortion when Roe v. Wade was struck down. Illinois has a trigger law that keeps abortion legal, the Reproductive Health Act, which was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker in 2019.
To learn more about services and resources available for those seeking reproductive healthcare, visit Chicago.gov/abortioncare.