Illinois city backs abortion pills ban, defying legal risks

May 3, 2023, 2:04 PM

Barney Blacketer, 74, left, argues with Madison Thompson, 23, center, and Ariel Cravens, 23, outsid...

Barney Blacketer, 74, left, argues with Madison Thompson, 23, center, and Ariel Cravens, 23, outside the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building before members of the city council voted to approve an ordinance that would ban the mailing or shipping of abortion pills, Tuesday, May 2, 2023 in Danville, Ill. The Illinois city near its eastern border with Indiana on Tuesday banned the mailing or shipping of abortion pills, defying the state's Democratic attorney general and the American Civil Liberties Union who have repeatedly warned that the move violates Illinois law's protection of abortion as a fundamental right. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

(Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois city on Tuesday banned the mailing or shipping of abortion pills, defying the state’s Democratic attorney general and the American Civil Liberties Union, who have repeatedly warned that the move violates Illinois law’s protection of abortion as a fundamental right.

The ordinance passed the city council in Danville, near Illinois’ eastern border with Indiana, by one vote, a tiebreaker cast by Mayor Rickey Williams.

This is not the first time since Roe v. Wade was overturned that local abortion restrictions have been adopted. Five local governments in Democrat-controlled New Mexico passed them, but the town in Ohio decided to rewrite its restrictions rather than defend them in court.

It’s not clear how Danville officials intend to enforce the ordinance. Illinois law has long shielded abortion rights. In 2019, Democratic lawmakers and Gov. J.B. Pritzker went further, specifying that decisions about contraception and abortion are a fundamental right in the state.

The ordinance proposed in Danville followed public reports that an Indiana clinic planned to open a facility in the city, which is about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the border. Indiana Republicans voted in August to ban abortion, but a legal challenge pending before the Indiana Supreme Court has kept the ban on hold since September.

In a statement released after Tuesday’s vote, Ameri Klafeta, director of the Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project at the ACLU of Illinois, said Danville officials had approved an “unlawful and unenforceable ordinance.”

“Illinois has explicitly protected the right to abortion in this state, free from governmental interference, and Danville’s vote today is in clear violation of that law,” Klafeta said. “We are evaluating next steps to challenge this unlawful ordinance.”

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul separately warned Danville officials that state law clearly prevented the ordinance’s passage and said its approval risked “considerable legal liability and expenses.”

“The Illinois Attorney General’s Office will continue to closely monitor the status of the proposed ordinance and stands ready to take appropriate action to ensure that Illinois law, including the Reproductive Health Act, is adhered to by Danville and its elected officials,” Raoul, a Democrat, wrote in the letter dated Monday.

Photos and video footage showed opponents and supporters gathered outside Danville’s city hall building and filling the room where council members heard public comments during a four-hour meeting ahead of the tight vote.

Mark Lee Dickson, who oversees the Texas-based Sanctuary Cities of the Unborn organization, was among the supporters inside the council chambers for the vote, according to the Chicago Tribune. The organization has focused on pushing cities nationwide to ban abortion and was previously tied to 2021 efforts to do so in four Ohio cities.

Supportive members of the council amended the proposal Tuesday — adding that it would only take effect “when the city of Danville obtains a declaratory judgment from a court that it may enact and enforce” the ordinance, according to the Danville Commercial-News.

The city’s corporation counsel, though, warned that change would not shield the city from legal action.

National News

Associated Press

San Francisco police: 9 victims hit but no deaths in Mission District mass shooting

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Multiple victims were struck by bullets during a mass shooting in San Francisco’s Mission District Friday night, but authorities said there were no fatalities. “We can confirm there are 9 shooting victims — all are expected to survive their injuries,” the San Francisco Police Department said in a tweet. Police said […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Cameron Champ, of the United States, hits out of a bunker on the ninth hole during the Walke...

Associated Press

Beverly Hills-adjacent golf club opens doors to world with U.S. Open

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For much of the past century, the Los Angeles Country Club was quite literally a hidden gem. While Los Angeles grew from a warm-weather outpost into a global metropolis, this picturesque golf club sat in one of the city’s most dazzling settings — 325 acres of multibillion-dollar real estate adjoining Beverly […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

This school reopened quickly after COVID. Kids’ reading was still behind

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — Students spread out in their rural Kansas classroom, answering questions with a partner about invaders atop elephants attempting to sack Rome more than 2,000 years ago. “Do you want to read?” one of the third graders, Parker, asked his partner after the lesson on the Punic Wars. “Because I’m not really […]

1 day ago

Seen is the damage from a collapsed apartment building, Monday, June 5, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa. T...

Associated Press

Cracked floors, bowed walls: Many warnings but no action at Iowa building before deadly collapse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — So many people knew something wasn’t right at the 116-year-old Davenport apartment building. The structural engineer who documented the shaky wall. The head of a masonry company who wouldn’t let his workers onto the site. The city inspector who threatened to close some units. A downtown official who called 911 […]

1 day ago

One of several cameras set up to capture live debate in the chamber of the Nebraska Legislature is ...

Associated Press

Nebraska Legislature as reality TV, featuring filibuster and culture war drama

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Mention televised legislative debates, and what may come to mind are stuffy, policy-wonk discussions broadcast by C-SPAN. This year’s Nebraska Legislature was more like a reality TV show, with culture-war rhetoric, open hostility among lawmakers, name-calling, yelling and more. Many Nebraskans couldn’t get enough of it. “It was addictive,” said Jamie […]

1 day ago

Drag performer Neon Calypso, center, sings and dances to Tina Turner's version of the song "Proud M...

Associated Press

Pride is back in Boston as parade returns after quarrel over inclusivity

BOSTON (AP) — The biggest Pride parade in New England returns to Boston after a three-year hiatus Saturday, with a fresh focus on social justice and inclusion rather than corporate backing. About 10,000 marchers signed up before registration was shut down, according to organizers. Employee groups are welcome to march, but corporations aren’t. “We really […]

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Illinois city backs abortion pills ban, defying legal risks