Will Illinois’ Governor Sign a Bill Forcing Christian Hospitals to Promote Abortions?

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 24, 2016   |   1:51PM   |   Springfield, IL

A new Illinois bill that would force Catholic hospitals and pro-life pregnancy centers to refer patients for abortions is still sitting on the governor’s desk.

The state House sent the pro-abortion bill to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner at the end of May, but there is no word yet about whether he will sign it. The legislation, Illinois Senate Bill 1564, would amend the state Health Care Right of Conscience Act and force pro-life medical providers, including hospitals and pregnancy resource centers, to refer or transfer patients who want abortions to facilities that do them.

The legislation would require pro-life health care providers to give patients a list of abortion facilities “who they reasonably believe” performs abortions, according to New York Magazine. Abortion activists are pushing for the legislation, citing an American Civil Liberties Union report about Catholic hospitals in the U.S. They argue that because Catholic hospitals are so prevalent in the U.S., patients have a harder time getting abortions.

Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said the Illinois bill would strip pro-life medical providers of their freedom to hold to life-affirming beliefs and refuse to participate in abortions.

“This Amendment takes away the rights of Illinois women to be treated by a pro-life doctor, because it would force medical facilities and physicians who conscientiously object to performing abortions (and other procedures) to refer for, make arrangements for someone else to perform, or arrange referral information that lists willing providers, for abortions,” Bowman said.

“By violating the pro-life principles of pro-life physicians and medical organizations, the Amendment would deprive Illinois women of their choice of a medical provider that does not refer for arrange for abortions in any way.”

In a column at LifeNews, ADF’s Marissa Mayer explained the potential effects of the legislation:

What the Illinois government fails to realize (or care about since we’ve brought it to their attention before) is that referring someone for an abortion goes against everything that pro-life doctors and pregnancy care centers believe about the sanctity of human life.

Not only that, but in a society that is consumed with the idea of choice, the Illinois government is working to effectively deprive women of their right to choose a pro-life doctor, which is what will happen if Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signs this unlawful bill.

… Pro-life doctors and pregnancy care centers didn’t sign up to be spokespeople for government ideologies. They have a right to their beliefs and to operate their businesses accordingly. Please join us in praying that Gov. Rauner vetoes the bill and upholds the constitutional rights of its citizens.

Alliance Defending Freedom said it plans to challenge the legislation in court if it becomes law.

Action: Call the Governor’s office in Springfield at (217) 782-0244 or in Chicago at (312) 814-2121 and respectfully ask him to veto Senate Bill 1564 and House Bill 5576 (this forces insurance companies to pay for abortion drugs like Plan B and Ella.) You can also send Governor Rauner a respectful email here.