We need to protect a woman's right to choose.

In the wake of Dobbs decision, Eileen O'Neill Burke will create a Choice Protection Unit in Cook County.

In wake of Dobbs decision striking down Roe v. Wade, EILEEN O’NEILL BURKE will create the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office CHOICE PROTECTION UNIT.

Following the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade last June, it is apparent that the states which have safeguarded a woman’s right to choose will face additional pressures on their justice systems.

Illinois has had a 70% increase in out-of-state visitors coming to our state for abortion services.  Inevitably, we will also see an increase in Anti-Choice protesters attempting to interfere with that right. This has already begun to ramp up in the last year, when protestors brought amplifiers and an armed guard downtown to intimidate patients and healthcare providers. As Republicans in Congress attempt to push a national abortion ban, our Justice system must be fully prepared to face these threats and cases head-on.

In order to do that and fulfill the mission of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to protect victims and uphold the laws of the State of Illinois, Eileen O’Neill Burke will create the office’s first CHOICE PROTECTION UNIT (CPU).

The CPU will be specially trained and ready to handle a wide variety of civil actions, municipal ordinance violations, misdemeanors and felonies. The CHOICE PROTECTION UNIT will comprise prosecutors and staff from every division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO).

CIVIL:  One of the Anti-Choice movement’s tactics is to sue abortion providers and their hospitals for malpractice.  The SAO defends Cook County hospital on any civil lawsuit.  The Civil Attorneys will have training on this and any other new strategy that we see throughout the country.  The training will cover a study of the law and constructing trial strategies to combat this and any other tactics that emerge.

BOND COURT, MISDEMEANORS AND FELONIES: Each unit will have the statutes and case law that apply to all possible charges ranging from unlawful picketing, noise violations, assaults, obstruction of the public way, stalking, and terrorism. Discussions and analysis will occur on a monthly basis. We will invite prosecutors from other jurisdictions to give presentations on the cases and tactics that are being pursued elsewhere by the Anti-Choice contingent.

The CHOICE PROTECTION UNIT will be the first unit dedicated to enforcing the laws which protect women’s access to abortion services and reproductive healthcare. It will serve as a model for other states to emulate. In the post-Dobbs world, it is critical that our prosecutor’s office is trained and ready to respond and ensure that women are unencumbered in exercising their right to reproductive freedom, which is still guaranteed in the State of Illinois.  Under Eileen O’Neill Burke’s administration, we will be ready.

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