A piece of legislation similar to a controversial Virginia bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before having an abortion appears to be unpopular with many Illinois voters, despite its recent approval by a statehouse committee.
Illinois House Bill 4085, the "Ultrasound Opportunity Act," was overwhelmingly approved by the state General Assembly's Agriculture and Conservation Committee, which typically debates issues such as farming, hunting and the environment, last Wednesday.
But according to a poll commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and conducted by Fako & Associates, only 33 percent of Illinois voters support the legislation. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of respondents thought that the agriculture committee was an inappropriate forum for an issue impacting women's health to be heard.
(Scroll down to watch a report on the poll.)
"The voters of Illinois clearly see this bill as a radical attempt to substitute politician’s ideological judgment into the medical decisions made by a woman with her physician," Colleen Connell, executive director of the ACLU's Illinois chapter, said in a statement.
"The law will force many Illinois women to undergo unnecessary medical procedures. Government has no business forcing these procedures on women," Connell continued, adding that she hoped the full House will follow the poll results' lead.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Lyons (D-Chicago), would require abortion facilities to take an ultrasound image of the woman's fetus and show it to her after she requested the procedure. She would need to decline the offer by signing a form that would be stored by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Lyons describes the proposal as "a pro-choice bill" and the Illinois Catholic Conference is on board in supporting the legislation. As Fox Chicago reports, Zach Wichmann of the conference said the bill is a matter of informed consent because ultrasounds are a necessary part of an abortion procedure.
In a fact sheet on the conference's website, proponents describe the bill as "far from radical" and added that it "enacts a small change."
However, opponents disagree. Lori Chaiten of the ACLU of Illinois told Fox that "this is not about healthcare; it’s about coercion," because she says the legislation is an attempt to force women seeking abortions to change their mind.
State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana), one of just two committee members to oppose the bill, appeared to agree with this assessment, telling Lyons "I think what you are getting at is trying to discourage the woman from trying to protect her life" while the bill was under consideration last week.
The proposal, along with a second abortion bill also recently OKed by the state agriculture committee, will next head to a floor vote for consideration by the full Illinois House of Representatives.
WATCH a report on the ACLU's poll on the controversial Ultrasound Opportunity Act: