A group of fake clinics, or crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), has taken legal action against officials from the state of Illinois for passing the Health Care Right of Conscience Act amendment, which requires clinics to discuss abortion care with people inquiring about the procedure.
In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Rockford, an anti-choice provider and four fake clinics alleged the amendment, approved by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), violates the state constitution and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit alleges SB 1564 violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Bryan A. Schneider, secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, is listed as a defendant.
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Rauner signed the revised law July 29, requiring personnel at religiously affiliated hospitals to provide patients with information about their medical circumstances and treatment options consistent with “current standards of medical care,” in cases where the doctor or institution won’t offer services on religious grounds, as Rewire reported.
The new policy, set to go into effect January 1, gives medical institutions and physicians the option to provide a referral or transfer the patient when they have “conscience-based” objections.
The new referral process will not require hospitals to confirm that the alternative providers perform the procedures the institutions refuse to perform.
The plaintiffs include Dr. Tina Gingrich of the Maryville Women’s Center; the Tri-County Crisis Pregnancy Center, also known as Informed Choices; The Life Center Inc., also known as TLC Pregnancy Services; Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Centers, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.
This is one of two lawsuits filed against Illinois officials for passing the Health Care Right of Conscience Act amendment.
Conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in August filed a complaint against Illinois state officials for approving SB 1564.
ADF filed the complaint on behalf of the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford and Aid for Women, Inc., and anti-choice physician Dr. Anthony Caruso of A Bella Baby OBGYN, which is also known as Best Care for Women.
The providers, all based in Northern Illinois, seek a declaratory judgment that SB 1564 is unconstitutional, along with preliminary and permanent injunctions that would ban the state from enforcing the amendment or penalizing people for not following the law.
Rauner spokesperson Catherine Kelly released a statement saying the governor “has never pushed a social agenda and remains committed to government, economic and education reforms that can turnaround Illinois,” the Chicago Tribune reported.