Bill giving women new pregnancy, childbirth rights passes House; Demmer questions role of IDPH
Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) spoke in opposition of a bill that lays out specific rights for women during pregnancy and childbirth.
Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) sponsored House Bill 2, which lays out 21 rights for women during pregnancy and childbirth and requires the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to implement the provisions.
"We’re in agreement on the importance of good health care, including prenatal care and after delivery," Demmer said. "The question I'm getting at is that this legislation establishes a list of 21 different rights and then it says the Department of Public Health will have to adopt rules to enforce this. Have you spoken with the Department of Public Health about this bill?"
Flowers said she spoke with the new director at IDPH briefly.
"To the bill, the point I'm trying to make here is that oftentimes we'll pass legislation from this chamber that charges a department with carrying out the implementation of law and that makes sense," Demmer said. "This bill is notable for a couple of reasons. The first is there are 21 rights in here that will have to be given definitions, be assigned a scope, a size, who is responsible for providing that right, what's the recourse if this right is not delivered, and we are sending all of this to the Department of Public Health — who doesn't even have a position on this bill."
Demmer continued, saying that he doesn't know how the IDPH will manage that.
"I think this is incredibly open-ended, and the fact that we haven't had a discussion with the Department of Public Health on whether or not they support this and if they even have an idea on how this will be implemented shows that we're not there yet."
The bill passed the House with 67 Yes votes, 35 No votes, and one member voted Present.