I am disappointed in the Riverside Village Board of Trustees’ decision to adopt their Resolution Supporting Reproductive Rights. I personally know many of the members of the board, and know them to be hard-working volunteers, and trust that they thought they were acting in the best interest of Riverside residents.
In this case, however, the board has acted beyond its remit. By issuing this resolution in the name of the village of Riverside, the board purports to represent and speak for the whole village. It does not.
The resolution was introduced and adopted in a single board meeting. This impetuousness, on a topic that has garnered thoughtful international debate for decades, is concerning.
To my knowledge, there was no groundswell of public opinion clamoring for this resolution. Nor did the board solicit, in a methodical way, resident input on this very controversial issue. The village has oft stated that it values inclusivity. Did the board not wish to solicit any other opinions from residents who may have more nuanced reactions to the abortion debate?
The recent reversal of Roe v. Wade has understandably taken many by surprise, and many have passionate feelings on the issue. In crafting the Riverside resolution, however, no dissenting opinions were sought, so the board’s decision was made in a self-affirming echo chamber. Nor does there appear to be any actionable reason for the resolution. The state of Illinois already affirms the elements of the resolution, and the village of Riverside is legally bound to follow same.
The resolution also proposed Illinois as a “sanctuary state.” What does this mean for the village? Have the policies and specific procedures been addressed in detail in the various village departments?
In the future, I wish the board would consult its constituency before promulgating an opinion on such an important topic. We cannot assume that national media reports about majority opinions on abortion apply to Riverside.
Even should Riverside mirror these reported views, on such a divisive topic, and with no specific impact on Riverside laws, this resolution fails to contribute anything positive.
It is painful for me to write this letter, as I respect all of the board members, and I rarely publicly voice my thoughts on lightning rod issues. You will notice, by the way, that I have not disclosed my personal opinion on abortion or reproductive rights. Perhaps you would be surprised. But then, since the Village Board of Trustees has already concluded that they represent my opinion, I suppose it is moot.
Cathy Maloney, Riverside