Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Signs Executive Order Protecting Abortion Rights – Chicago Sun-Times | Gmx Pharm

In 1985, then-Mayor Harold Washington issued an executive order barring city officials from enforcing federal immigration laws to protest the federal government’s decision to conduct random searches of city records to find and prosecute undocumented immigrants.

On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot followed a similar path — this time to prevent the landmark decision to overthrow Roe v. Wade ushered in an era of investigation and prosecution.

Lightfoot signed an executive order barring the Chicago Police Department or any other local government agency from collaborating to criminalize women who come to Chicago to request abortions that are banned in their home states, or medical providers and others who provide them help.

The order will remain in effect until September, when Chicago City Council is expected to approve a broader ordinance that Ald has advocated. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd) and her progressive colleagues.

During a press conference at City Hall on Thursday, Lightfoot said it was “terrible” to see the “race to the bottom” taking place in other states since the US Supreme Court’s June 24 decision.

“Not only ban abortion, but make no exception for a mother’s health and life. No exception for victims of rape or incest. Never in my life did I think we would see this kind of horrible legislation … happily passed by states controlled by Republican legislatures,” Lightfoot said.

“We will not be complicit in living the dreams of another state that wants to criminalize women for access to health care.”

Pro-abortion rights protesters in downtown Chicago on Friday, June 24, 2022, the day the US Supreme Court issued its ruling ending federal protections for abortion.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Lightfoot noted that the United States has a “sad history of criminalizing people who flee a state to fulfill their God-given rights to liberty.”

“I really think a lot about the fugitive slave laws that were passed earlier in our country’s history. We cannot go back to these times,” the mayor said.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, an abortion rights legislator, said just because there haven’t been witch hunts in Chicago doesn’t mean there won’t be.

Just yesterday, Cassidy said she received “photos of an anti-abortion activist taking photos of every license plate in a parking lot, with the next objective presumably being to look for whom.” [the owners] of these cars are and deliver them in their states.

“That’s what we’re dealing with. We have to expect that,” Cassidy said.

Megan Jeyifo, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, said she’s heard from women who are “terrified” of being stopped on their way home from Chicago.

“I have children at home. I’ll leave her with a sitter. What if I get arrested and can’t come home to my kids,” Jeyifo quoted these women as saying.

The ordinance, introduced by Rodriguez Sanchez, would ban Chicago police officers from participating in investigations of women seeking abortions and those who assist them, unless a court order compels that cooperation.

But Lightfoot said she was concerned “to uphold an order from a state court judge in one of these states where they are clearly and aggressively targeting women who choose to have an abortion.” She noted that judges are elected and “feel political pressure”.

“While we will of course deal with a court order when we receive it, because of the way courts in some of these states have been incredibly politicized, we will not make the same guess as we would otherwise,” he said mayor said.

Rodriguez Sanchez also introduced a companion regulation that would allocate at least $1 million from Chicago’s 2023 budget to reproductive medicine and clinic defenses.

That’s modeled after the $1.3 million legal defense fund set up by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help immigrants at risk of deportation after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.

Lightfoot has already pledged $500,000 to support abortion providers and seekers.

The mayor said she needs to “work with vendors to see exactly what they need” before deciding how much more money to set aside in her pre-election budget.

“One of the biggest things that will drive … the increased costs is the cost of travel and accommodation. We’ve had some initial conversations about what we can and should do as a city to really offset that spending,” she said.

“It’s still early to give a number. We need to talk more to the providers. We have to see what the data gives us. But it will be a healthy number. No question.”

Lightfoot said she’s also “actively exploring ways to support” city employees seeking abortions.

She called on the private and philanthropic sectors to do the same for their employees.

“We don’t need fancy statements. We have to act,” said the mayor.

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