Insurance coverage of infertility treatment will be expanded to help same-sex couples and single people start families under a piece of legislation signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday, a move one lawmaker said sends a “strong message” that the state is “a place where all families are welcome.”
The governor said signing the legislation — which bars discrimination in coverage on the basis of age, gender, gender identity and other factors — will advance state residents’ ability to “live the fullest lives as their truest selves.”
That bill was one of four pieces of legislation aimed at advancing the rights of people in the LGBTQ community that Pritzker signed at the Center on Halsted, which serves the community.
The legislation provides coverage for the “diagnosis and treatment of infertility … without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, [or] gender identity.”
“Beginning Jan. 1, Illinois will chart a new path forward with more inclusive, gender neutral language in our insurance code that offers meaningful discrimination protections for accessing these treatments,” Pritzker said. “Already fertility journeys can be deeply expensive personal and emotional, and I’m very proud to sign a law that removes a part of that burden for the would-be parents of Illinois.”
Pritzker also signed legislation that rolls back a state statute that criminalized the transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV; creates a process for state residents to correct, or remove, gender identifying language on their marriage certificate, and creates a process for county clerks to issue a new marriage certificate when it receives documentation that someone has legally changed their name.
Sponsors of the pieces of legislation, advocates and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton joined Pritzker at the signing ceremony.
State Rep. Margaret Croke, D-Chicago, led the effort in the House to expand insurance coverage for fertility treatments.
A constituent in her North Side district reached out to her about his struggles with the state’s insurance laws, which were a barrier to he and his husband starting a family, Croke said.
It’s because of that story, and the work to craft legislation since then, that the state is “expanding insurance coverage to so many Illinoisans and sending a strong message across the state that Illinois is a place where all families are welcome,” Croke said.
Timothy Jackson, the director of government relations for AIDS Foundation Chicago, brought the state’s law criminalizing HIV to state Rep. Carol Ammons’ attention. The Urbana Democrat led the repeal effort in the House.
Jackson said the repeal of the law, which had been on the books since 1986, makes Illinois the second in the nation to take such a step, but HIV-related stigma, discrimination and criminalization “act as barriers to the state’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030.”
“As a person living with HIV for nearly 12 years, it also brings me profound pleasure to represent the people and communities most impacted by not only HIV and AIDS, but by this stigmatizing and discriminatory law,” Jackson said.
“We know that the most effective way to address the HIV epidemic is through testing and treatment ... with the stroke of the governor’s pen today people living with HIV can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our medical condition will no longer be criminalized.”