Pro-life doctors in Illinois have praised a court ruling to place a preliminary injunction on a Bill requiring them to advise patients on the ‘benefits’ of having an abortion.
The Bill, approved last August by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, would have become effective on 1 January 2017.
The decision has been celebrated by the plaintiffs in the case, the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford.
‘Free speech rights’
The ‘compelled speech’ Bill requires all medical professionals to inform patients about abortion provision, regardless of their conscience.
Circuit Court Judge Eugene Doherty granted the injunction, noting that the Bill violates the free speech rights of pro-life medics by forcing them to comply with a state-sponsored pro-abortion message.
His ruling concluded: “Why must the State, which licenses and regulates those who provide the objected-to services, rely on the very people who object to the services to be the source of information about them?”
‘Against their will’
Tiffany Staman, Executive Director at Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford said: “We realize this is just the beginning of the road, but we’re really grateful that the court ruled based on our free speech rights that are found in the Constitution.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious liberty group backing the care center, described the court’s ruling as a “victory for free speech and the freedom of conscience”.
“No state has the authority to compel health professionals, against their will and their sacred oath to ‘do no harm,’ to promote abortion,” said Matt Bowman, a senior counsel for ADF.
Susan Barrett, executive director of Aid for Women, a named plaintiff in the case, said: “We have an absolute moral and Constitutional right to save lives. This is precisely what we intend to continue doing.”
“Our fight for our conscience rights, the lives of the unborn, and the best interest of women will press on,” she added.
Judge Doherty’s ruling applies only to the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford.
A broader case against the Bill is scheduled to be heard in a federal court tomorrow.