The conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom is suing Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner over his approval of an amendment to the state's Health Care Right of Conscience law.
The suit was filed in Winnebago County on behalf of an Illinois doctor as well as the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford and Aid for Women, Inc.
Rauner's recent signing of an amendment to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act has angered the pro-life community. The changes Rauner signed into law also received zero Republican votes in the Illinois House and Senate.
Under the measure, health care providers with "conscience-based objections" to providing certain services, like abortion, have to inform patients where they can obtain such services. Supporters of the measure say it protects a provider's "right of conscience," while also ensuring patients have full access to medical information.
For its part, the Alliance Defending Freedom argues that the legislation violates state law and the Illinois Constitution.
"No state should attempt to rob women of the right to choose a pro-life doctor by forcing pro-life physicians and entities to make or arrange abortion referrals. What's even worse is that Illinois did this by amending a law designed specifically to protect freedom of conscience," the Alliance Defending Freedom's senior counsel Matt Bowman said in a statement. "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."
Kevin Theriot, also senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, added: "Pro-life health care professionals shouldn't be forced to hand out lists describing how to contact abortionists, yet that's what this law mandates that they do. If this profane amendment to Illinois' conscience protection law remains on the books, doctors and medical staff committed to saving all lives will be forced to promote the killing of some children, women will lose access to doctors who unconditionally value human life, and pregnancy resource centers that offer free help and hope to pregnant women will be forced to refer to abortionists. This is the kind of government coercion that the state constitution, the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the very law that was amended were all designed to prevent."