Healthcare Workers Sue Illinois for Forced Participation in Abortions

News: US News
by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  October 4, 2016   

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ROCKFORD, Ill. ( - Pro-life groups are suing the state of Illinois, maintaining they are being forced to participate in abortions.

A federal law known as the Church Amendment declares that courts, public officials or any public authority cannot require health providers to participate in abortion and sterilization procedures if "performance or assistance in the performance of such procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions." It also says providers cannot be compelled to make their facilities or faculty available for the same procedures.

In July, pro-abortion Republican governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 1564 (SB1564) into law. While it does not force healthcare workers to directly participate in abortions or sterilizations, it requires that they "refer the patient to ... the health care service the health care facility, physician, or health personnel refuses to permit, perform, or participate in because of a conscience-based objection."

While Rauner and state lawmakers believe the law to be a good compromise, some healthcare providers — especially pregnancy centers — disagree.

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Tri-County Crisis Pregnancy Center, The Life Center Inc., Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Centers and Dr. Tina Gingrich of the Maryville Women's Center filed a lawsuit September 30 in federal court against Gov. Rauner. The groups' attorney commented, "The government shouldn't be putting messages in people's mouths."

He continued, "It's quite easy to find that [abortion] information. Go ahead and Google it. We don't have to violate others' conscience in order to make that happen."

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior counsel Matt Bowman commented in August when the law was passed, "The governor should have vetoed this bill for many reasons, including its incompatibility with Illinois law and the state constitution, which specifically protects freedom of conscience and free speech."

He continued, "What's even worse is that Illinois did this by amending a law designed specifically to protect freedom of conscience."

It was reported earlier that pro-life organizations in California are facing similar issues. Assembly Bill 775, also called the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act, was passed in November 2015 and became law on January 1. It forces all pro-life centers in California to post a notice announcing: "This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services."

They must also post disclaimers in two "clear and conspicuous" places notifying clients that:

California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion, for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at (telephone number).

So far, however, Californians are not compelled to actually provide a list of abortionists to whom to send clients.

No date has been released for a hearing, but plaintiffs are hoping for an injunction before SB1564 goes into effect on January 1, 2017.


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