July 13, 2023

Chicago Mayor Promises Free Abortions and Prosecution of Sidewalk Counselors

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's priorities for the city include free abortion pills and prosecution of sidewalk counselors.

A "Transition Report" released by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson in the wake of his election win details his priorities for the city. Those priorities include:
  • "fully funding" Chicago's "Office of Reproductive Health"
  • creating awareness campaigns to ensure residents know abortion is legal and taxpayer-funded
  • promoting enrollment in Medicaid (which covers abortion in Illinois)
  • giving taxpayer dollars directly to pro-abortion organizations such as the Chicago Abortion Fund and Midwest Access Coalition
  • staffing the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and other city departments with "professionals... trained in the latest developments in the reproductive healthcare space."
  • crafting policies that would require CDPH facilities to provide abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to patients (using taxpayer dollars)
  • "enforc[ing] Chicago’s “bubble zone” ordinance, which bars individuals from approaching within eight feet of a person within 50 feet of an abortion clinic if their purpose is to engage in counseling, education, leafleting, hand billing, or protest."
Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, criticized Johnson's threat of prosecution. In a statement to LifeSite News, he wrote,

"Brandon Johnson wants to make Chicago into Abortion City, USA. We know that more than half of abortions are actually unwanted, but Johnson is pushing abortion on disadvantaged women anyway, instead of offering them the practical help they need and want so they can choose life for their babies. He doesn’t even want these women to get help from pro-life Chicagoans, as he is promising to step up enforcement of the Bubble Zone law that police routinely misapply, and over which the city has already been sued."

"Looks like we might be headed back to court to fight for our simple right to help women in need," Scheidler said.

The Seventh Circuit upheld the bubble zone ordinance in 2019 under the precedent of a 2000 Supreme Court Ruling. In their decision, three judges (including then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett) wrote that pro-lifers could feasibly win at the Supreme Court and overturn the precedent.