I had two columns in Friday's paper: a cultural look at Hugh Hefner (that had begun as an obituary and then morphed as the needs of the paper changed) and this reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner signing House Bill 40, and thus spiking our state's 40-year-old "trigger law." It was one of those quickie, reap-the-clicks pieces ordered up at the last minute and batted out. But not without, I hope, a certain charm. I did think of tucking Hefner's passing into the lede as the third good thing that happened to women this week, but didn't want to risk celebrating the man's death, though he may have deserved it.
Talk about a good week for women. Talk about progress.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced, in a royal decree, that next year it will tip-toe into the 20th century by finally allowing women to drive automobiles, as if they were fully cognizant human beings.
Then on Thursday, Illinois' Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose record of inertia, wheel-spinning and fencepole-sitting is second-to-none, revealed that he would wrap his fingers around a pen and sign House Bill 40.
HB40, you should know, is the law that establishes that should the religious fanatics that Republicans have been stuffing the Supreme Court with actually reverse the widely popular Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the "trigger law" that the bowl haircuts down in Springfield passed in 1975 would not automatically ban the procedure in Illinois.
Most women in Illinois no doubt did not realize that the trigger law, formally 720 Illinois Criminal Statute 510, was dangling over their heads all this time, ready to ban abortion the moment Roe v. Wade was overturned,
The only other states with such a law are Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota.
The new bill, sponsored by state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, was filed almost three years ago. Rauner, who ran in 2014 stating he would not delve into "social issues" either by pushing to restrict abortion, or to reduce the ability of state-employees or poor women to get the procedure, began waffling publicly like Hamlet.
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