A Matter of Privacy and the Rule of Law: Impact of Dobbs v Jackson

Last week, KCDW held its first forum since 2019. On Thursday, October 13, we presented “Our Rights Are on the Ballot: Impact of Dobbs v Jackson.” The forum brought together three distinguished panelists and a judicial perspective by Judge Elizabeth Rochford, candidate for the Illinois Supreme Court 2nd District.

The subject came about in a year that peeled away 50 years of protection for women in making decisions about their own reproductive healthcare. Roe V Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. And with that decision, liberty and justice under “We the People of the United States,” just got a whole lot harder. Harder for every woman of reproductive age. Harder if you live in a “Red” state. Harder for those with limited funds forced to travel to another state.

Women in the state of Illinois cannot take current reproductive rights for granted. The audience learned state law is threatened. ACLU Director of the Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project, Ameri Klafeta, says there are pending lawsuits making their way through the Illinois Supreme Court to challenge current laws. The outcome of the midterm election may determine the balance of the Illinois Supreme Court, and that balance could favor overturning a woman’s reproductive rights with conservative views in the majority.

Two of the healthcare initiatives discussed by the panel were “The Reproductive Healthcare Act” and “Keeping Youth Safe Health Act.” State Representative Anna Moeller and Rianne Hawkins, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, are advocates who advanced the initiatives in becoming law. The long disputed “Parental Notification Act,” (PNA) was nullified. Victims of incest, rape and domestic abuse no longer require parental notification prior to abortion services.

Questions from the audience raised issues about the impact on the state’s budget and about Medicaid for median and low income patients. Medicaid is only available for those who live within the state. For out-of-state women seeking abortion and its related costs, the impact on Illinois’ budget is not clear. The state will need to work with partners.

Women have long struggled for equal rights since passage of the 19th Amendment affirmed the right to vote. Autonomy for ourselves, for our daughters, for our granddaughters and for future generations must be fought on the election battlefields. Electing people to office that affirm our views is the course of action each must take. November 8, 2022, holds promise that a clarion call to make our voices heard shall not be a whimper but a sound heard round the nation. Our Vote is Our Voice.