Chicago City Council Passes Bodily Autonomy Ordinance Which Protects Access to Abortion 

Reproductive and gender-affirming care protected by Chicago’s Bodily Autonomy Ordinance, passed on Sept. 21 by Chicago City Council.

This story was written by Adeline Sauer

The Chicago City Council passed the Bodily Autonomy Ordinance, a law enriching legal protections for those seeking abortions and gender-affirming care, Sept. 21. It prohibits the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and other city officials from cooperating with any criminal investigations from states where abortion is illegal and gender-affirming healthcare is restricted.

The Bodily Autonomy Ordinance also shields healthcare providers and anyone assisting people seeking gender-affirming health care and abortion from criminal investigations, according to Leslie Perkins, chief of staff for Maria Hadden, alderwoman of the 49th Ward. 

“It’s really important that we safeguard the rights of women,” Perkins said. “It’s a private healthcare decision that people have to make and it’s never an easy decision that somebody has to make.”

The bill was co-sponsored by Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez of the 33rd Ward and Hadden, who represents Rogers Park in city hall. The ordinance was passed quickly and with urgency to protect women, according to Perkins. 

“We are glad that city council was able to act swiftly to not only continue to protect reproductive health care rights here in Chicago, but strengthen them by shielding people from criminal investigations,” Perkins said. 

This ordinance comes at a crucial time as the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, allowing states to decide whether or not to restrict access to abortion. 

“This new law is critical as anti-abortion states increasingly try to impose civil or criminal liability or professional sanctions against people or entities for seeking or providing legal reproductive healthcare in the State of Illinois,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in Sept. 21 press release.

“We are glad that here in Chicago we can kind of be at the forefront of making sure that we’re safeguarding those rights for pregnant people and people seeking gender-affirming care,” Perkins said.

With all these protections for reproductive rights, some students at Loyola responded positively towards the City Council’s decision. First-year physics major Amanda Newton said she believes bodily autonomy is important and should be protected for everyone. 

“As a woman who values my bodily autonomy, I feel respected,” Newton said. “I also like the fact that Chicago is supporting women from other states. It’s a true act of showing support.”

First-year film major Julia Butkus said she is saddened by other states putting restrictions on bodily autonomy.

“States shouldn’t have restrictions, but at least Chicago has it in reverse like everybody else,” Butkus said. 

With the ability to decide whether or not to put restrictions on reproductive rights, states such as Missouri and West Virginia have already banned abortions. But, first-year engineering major Carina Kalkman said she hopes other cities and states that are still deciding about reproductive restrictions follow in Chicago’s footsteps.

“I think it’s important people’s privacy is protected and this ordinance is a good way to ensure that people have the power to travel to Chicago for a safe abortion or if they feel the need to get a procedure done,” Kalkman said. “I think it’s a good pathway for more people’s bodily autonomy being protected.”

Featured image by Victor Adegoke | The Phoenix

The Phoenix Staff

The Phoenix Staff