News

Local officials react to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

The Will County Seal on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, at Will County Office Building in Joliet, Ill.

Will County — Several local politicians lamented a Supreme Court decision that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade and indicated the effects could reach beyond restricting women’s access to abortion rights.

On Friday, Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, a Democrat, said the decision may have implications beyond abortion rights.

“It may affect gay marriage. It may affect [the American With Disabilities Act] as well,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

That perspective was echoed by Will County Board Speaker Mimi Cowan, D-Naperville, who said the right to privacy in the U.S. is under attack and that the battle has ramifications far beyond the right to an abortion.

“We’ve known for some time that this was going to be coming, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing and, for a lot of people, frightening,” Cowan said.

Bertino-Tarrant also said the decision was “disappointing but not unexpected based on the leak. We have a big concern. We need to make sure women have the right to make decisions with their doctor.”

Will County Board member Steve Balich, R-Homer Glen, who considers himself pro-life, said the court’s decision left abortion access up to the states.

“It always should’ve went to the states,” Balich said.

Eric Mattson, a candidate for the Democratic primary race in Illinois’ 43rd Senate District, said he will “always protect a woman’s right to choose.”

“It’s a complicated issue – we know this for a fact – but I am always going to stand up for women,” Mattson said.

Rachel Ventura, Mattson’s opponent, called the Supreme Court’s decision a “travesty.”

“We’re living in a scary time right now,” Ventura said.

In a statement, Ventura said she will fight to put reproductive health on the ballot and “codify these protections into the Illinois Constitution.”

Carole Cheney, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s spokeswoman, said the court decision left the determination on the issue to the states.

“Illinois already has enacted laws in this area. As a prosecutor, the state’s attorney enforces the laws passed by our Legislature,” Cheney said.

Plainfield Mayor John Argoudelis said his own belief is that abortion “should be legal but rare,” noting that he would have favored a Supreme Court decision that reached a compromise on the issue.

“As a lawyer, I do understand the legal reasoning,” Argoudelis said. ”The legal basis for Roe v. Wade was always difficult to justify for lawyers.”