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Letter: Reproductive Health Act seen as a challenge to beliefs on social justice and the value of life

Editor’s note: Senate Bill 25, also known as the Reproductive Health Act, passed the Illinois legislature June 1. This letter was submitted prior to the bill’s passage.

As the State of Illinois legislature considers Senate Bill 25, which declares that abortion is a fundamental right, we are compelled to examine its implications and the beliefs that it reflects.  By declaring that abortion is a fundamental right, any restrictions on abortion will be at risk of being struck down by the courts as a violation of this newly declared fundamental right.  

In addition, SB 25 as currently written allows for abortion at any time, even up to the moment of birth, if the health of the mother is at risk. Health is so expansively defined in the bill that this restriction will in practice be meaningless.  

The reality of this bill is that it will enable the abortion of fully formed and viable children up to the moment of birth, and we can no longer state that we don’t know the status of the child in the womb.  Science, natural law and common sense all inform us that a human being is there. 


This bill is an assault on basic human rights as it reflects the belief that one person has the right to determine whether another person can live. This is the belief that enabled slavery — that some lives have less worth than others and don’t deserve our protection and respect.  

The fact that we are now even considering this legislation is the next logical step in a sub-culture that views the value of life from the perspective of the utility that a person offers, or from the perspective of how much one person’s life may burden another.  

As a community we need to contrast the pro-abortion philosophy with the philosophy of the champions of social justice and human rights who have come before us — William Wilberforce who led the anti-slavery movement in England and Martin Luther King Jr.  

Like today, they were at first on the losing side of the politics of their day, but they persevered and over time their consistent and courageous promotion of the belief that every person has equal dignity and value changed our culture and then changed politics and public policy.  

During the Memorial Day week, we honored the sacrifice of those who gave their lives so that we can live with freedom and we are reminded of the responsibility that comes with our freedom.  

Each of us has the responsibility to consider the value we want our society to ascribe to life, which requires that we consider the science of life, the reality of abortion and as importantly how we can provide tangible and emotional support to mothers facing difficult and crisis pregnancies.  

Will we choose to live out the joyful truth that every life, every unborn child and every mother has infinite dignity and value?  Will we hold our elected officials accountable to defend these truths?  If we do, then we will transform our culture and the politics and legislation will follow that affirm human dignity. 

Dennis Cortes
Member of the Board of Directors, Illinois Right to Life


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