Illinois is currently debating a bill, SB 1564, amending the state Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which would roll back conscience protections in the state for Pregnancy Care Centers and other healthcare facilities and professionals.

If passed, this bill would force pregnancy care centers to violate their conscience and go against their mission by requiring them to refer, provide, or transfer for abortions and other services.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel, Matthew Bowman, has written and circulated a letter supporting Pregnancy Care Centers and the work and service they provide women. He writes, “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 or arrange for abortions in any way.”

He goes on to say, “Pro-life pregnancy centers offer real help and hope to women and families who are experiencing a pregnancy and wish to make a choice other than abortion. They are non-profit organizations that provide their services for free to thousands of people in Illinois, saving taxpayers many thousands of dollars. Many pro-life pregnancy centers, including those among the undersigned, are actually medical facilities and/or they operate under the official supervision of a licensed physician. These centers offer free medical services in conjunction with their prolife information and assistance. Consequently when the Amendment requires medical facilities and physicians to refer or provide information for abortion, it forces them to engage in speech that directly contradicts their non-profit mission. This deprives thousands of women and family members of free medical and other services to make a choice that values life.”

Not only does this bill violate and erode conscience protections for pro-life doctors and Pregnancy Care Centers, it also violates longstanding federal law, the “Coats-Snowe” amendment, 42 U.S.C. 238n (Public Health Service Act Section 245) and could jeopardize federal funding Illinois receives from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.

The government should not force individuals to violate their deeply held moral convictions. Pregnancy Care Centers provide a great service to women and unborn children and they should be allowed to keep serving women and not be forced to violate their conscience in order to continue to serve.

Click here to read the letter supporting the work of Pregnancy Care Centers.