Illinois Governor Sued by Pro-Lifers over Controversial Abortion Bill

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (photo credit: Steven Vance via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Back in August, Jon Schweppe reported on a bill being signed by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner which would force pro-life medical professionals to provide information about and referrals for abortion services, even if doing so would violate their consciences. Although Rauner, a Republican, had campaigned on having “no social issues agenda” two years ago, he willingly surrendered to the left’s anti-religious freedom agenda, betraying conservatives who had worked hard to get him elected.

It should come as no surprise then that Rauner is now facing a lawsuit from a number of crisis pregnancy centers taking issue with the fact that their conscience rights are now under assault:

Specifically, they argue the law “is a classic example of compelled speech” violating First and 14th Amendment rights, as well as speech rights guaranteed by the Illinois state constitution. They also say SB 1675 violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act “because it forces medical facilities and physicians … to violate their religious convictions without serving a compelling government interest in a least restrictive way, and it treats some religious beliefs more favorably than others.”

[…]

The complaint details the way in which the state’s new law directly affects the way they attempt fulfill their mission of providing alternatives to abortion — “the reasons they entered the medical profession” — specifically a clause stating: “All health care facilities shall adopt written access to care and information protocols that are designed to ensure that conscience-based objections do not cause impairment of patients’ health and that explain how conscience-based objections will be addressed in a timely manner to facilitate patient health care services.”

Referring patients to, or discussing with them, providers that “may provide surgical abortion, abortion causing drugs and devices, and contraception,” they argued, directly violates “the religious and moral beliefs and conscience” of the facilities and their staff members.

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Illinois GOP Governor Signs Bill Erasing Conscience Rights for Pro-Lifers

Like many pro-life Republicans, I held my nose and voted for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in 2014. That turned out to be a mistake. Below I tender my mea culpa.

In June, we wrote about Rauner’s opportunity to veto SB 1564, an oppressive, anti-religious freedom bill passed by Illinois’ Democrat-led state legislature, which would require pro-life medical professionals and pro-life pregnancy centers to participate in and/or openly advocate for abortion. Rauner, who famously campaigned on having “no social issues agenda,” signed SB 1564 into law on Friday.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (photo credit: Steven Vance via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Instead of siding with the faithful pro-life conservatives who believed his “social issues” campaign promise and worked hard to get him elected in 2014, Rauner chose to embrace radical anti-religious leftists and pro-abortion advocates who will never vote for him anyway.

So much for the lesser of two evils.

Several weeks ago, Hans von Spakovsky described the impact of SB 1564 in detail over at The Daily Signal:

Currently, doctors who object to performing abortions because of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction are protected under Illinois law from being forced to violate their consciences.

This bill would upset this balance and force objecting doctors to refer or transfer their patients to abortion providers. Thus, this statute would require a physician to facilitate individuals obtaining abortions even if it violates that physician’s religious beliefs and makes him a party to an operation that he considers immoral or a sin.

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Dear Gov. Rauner, Please Veto This Terrible, Awful “Social Issues” Bill

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (photo credit: Steven Vance via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

When Illinois Republican Bruce Rauner first ran for governor in 2014, he promised that he had “no social issues agenda.” He explained to voters that he was solely focused on fixing Illinois’ fiscal mess. He won on that message.

And as Governor, he has followed through on his promise. He is in the thick of a yearlong budget standoff with the Illinois Legislature. Both the General Assembly and the Senate are supposedly held by Democratic super-majorities, although neither body has been able to pass a budget by a veto-proof majority. The entire situation has been ugly — one Peoria reporter has a nine-and-a-half inch long “budget beard” to show for it — but Rauner continues to hold his ground, vetoing all spending bills that don’t provide for a balanced budget.

He deserves a lot of credit for that. Republicans are known for being squishes, not stalwarts. Rauner is willingly taking on bad media coverage in order to try and fix what many consider to be an unsolvable fiscal crisis. Like his fellow Republican governor to the north, Scott Walker, Rauner has demonstrated that, when it comes to battling entrenched special interests and balancing the budget, he has real cajones.

But there is a problem with Rauner’s “no social issues agenda” pledge. What happens when the Democrats pass “social issue” legislation and send it to his desk? Rauner avoided responding to this question on the campaign trail, but now he will be forced to answer with a signature or a veto. Continue Reading