First up: Intolerance targeted at women and LGBT individuals.
2011 set an unfortunate record for the number of anti-abortion laws passed in state legislatures across the country. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010.” In Illinois, activists fended off several pieces of legislation that would have decreased access to abortion services, and harmed women’s reproductive health in the state. It is all but certain that similar legislation will be introduced again in 2012, and the ACLU of Illinois will be there to fight it every step of the way.
LGBT individuals and their families made some impressive strides in 2011 in Illinois: Civil Unions came into effect, and enabled many couples to obtain legal recognition for their partnerships, and provide protection for their loved ones. Transgender Illinoisans gained access to birth certificates that reflect their correct gender, regardless of their personal medical decisions. The fight to ensure full equality, safe schools and freedom from discrimination will continue in 2012.
These battles, in the courts and in the legislature, embody the ACLU of Illinois’ commitment to defending, and advancing the rights of, groups of people singled out for discrimination in our state. Join us as we work – defending the targets of injustice and intolerance in 2012.