Women’s History Month: Celebrating Through Legislation

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Happy Women’s History Month! Every March we have the opportunity to reflect on the past and honor the women who have paved the way for all of us. I want to expand on their legacies through my work in Springfield.

This legislation session, here are some of the bills I’m championing for the womxn in our community:

House Bill 1797 repeals the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995. This allows minors to have the ability to get an abortion without parental consent. Young women will be freed of this roadblock to receive the medical procedure.

House Bill 0154 removes taxes on breast pumps. It will ensure that breast pumps and kits are exempt from taxes opposed under the Tax Act, the Service Use Tax Act, the Service Occupation Tax Act, and the Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act.

House Bill 0155 allows that SNAP benefits can be used to purchase menstrual hygiene products. The purpose of SNAP is to provide access to essential products, the inclusion of menstrual hygiene products will ensure everyone has access to the menstrual hygiene products they need.

House Bill 0156 requires school districts to make menstrual (rather than feminine) hygiene products available, at no cost to students, in each bathroom of every school building (rather than in bathrooms of school buildings). Presently, feminine hygiene products are available in some school bathrooms. The change to menstrual hygiene products will provide more accessible care for young women.

House Bill 0354 requires the medical assistance program to cover perinatal doula services and evidence-based home visiting services by amending the Medical Assistance Article of the Illinois Public Aid Code. Doula services aid in the prevention of unfair medical treatment and decrease harm done to mothers and their children. These services are essential medical care that women deserve to access through the medical assistance program.

House Bill 3709 prohibits insurance coverage discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Additionally, it removes provisions stating that “infertility” means the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse or the inability to sustain a successful pregnancy. This will be achieved through the amendment of the Illinois Insurance Code.

House Bill 3834 creates the Reproductive Health Discrimination Ban Act. This will prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of an employee’s or dependent’s reproductive health decision-making. Women should not be treated differently because of how they make decisions about their reproductive health.