Abortion notice law clashes with free speech and right-of-conscience laws at suburban pregnancy centers

Chicago on the Radar

April Leachman

After the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973, federal legislation was passed to represent the interests of doctors and other healthcare workers who have religious or moral objections to the controversial procedure.  These “right-of-conscience” laws  provide a measure of protection for medical personnel who do not want to perform abortions or offer abortion referrals.

In Illinois, all that changed on January 1 of this year, when  Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendment to the legislation officially took effect, requiring clinicians, regardless of their moral convictions, to inform pregnant women  about “all their options,” including abortion.

Healthcare entities must at least provide women with abortion referrals.   There seems to be some concern that patients are not being apprised of all the courses of action they can pursue when they find themselves in a crisis pregnancy.

Two Christian pregnancy centers– 1st Way Pregnancy Support Services (McHenry County) and Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs (Lansing)– and a physician who serves patients at various clinics, have since filed suit in opposition to the enactment.  Plaintiffs point out that the Illinois legislation is a clear violation of federal law.  Furthermore, it tramples on clinicians’ First Amendment Rights, requiring providers to inform patients about a procedure that they believe is morally wrong. . . [Full Text]

 

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