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Statement attributed to Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action:

"Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) is deeply alarmed by the more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country so far this year. Many of these bills specifically target the transgender community by making it illegal to access or provide gender-affirming medical care and denying the best equipped health care providers the ability to provide appropriate care for the trans community. While we are fortunate to live in a state that is not currently considering any of these types of legislations, bills like these still impact the LGBTQ communities in our region—by causing confusion and fear. Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is one of the leading providers of LGBTQ health care in the state. And PPIA continues to fight so that everyone can access the high-quality health care they need, no matter where they live.

Just as Illinois serves as a safe haven for abortion in the Midwest, Illinois laws protect the rights of transgender people when it comes to public accommodations, employment, and housing. During the 2021 legislative session, PPIA supported legislation that continues to move Illinois forward, including developing sexual education standards that are inclusive and non-judgmental (SB818), making it easier to change or remove gender identifying language on a marriage certificate (SB139), and allowing for gender-neutral, multi-occupancy restrooms in public places (HB3195).

We recognize, however, that much work remains. Even though we have the Illinois Human Rights Act, health care providers in Illinois can still refuse to provide any service they believe conflicts with their conscience. It’s why Planned Parenthood Illinois Action strongly supports passing the Equality Act at the national level, which would provide protections from health care discrimination against someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Of course, we understand that attitudes and beliefs cannot be legislated. It’s why our goal is to ensure that PPIL health centers are places where LGBTQ people can receive physical and emotional care in a respectful and affirming environment. We will never stop our fight to help everyone have access to the essential health care they need and deserve.

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