By Emily Zender -
Yesterday, the Illinois House passed an extreme and hostile bill against women, medical professionals, and pregnancy help centers.
Senate Bill 1564 will force every doctor, pharmacist, and pregnancy resource center in Illinois to help a woman obtain an abortion whenever asked. It also requires doctors to discuss the “benefits” of abortion with their patients.
Here’s how the bill would work:
Women like myself specifically picked my OB/GYN because this doctor is publicly pro-life and will not encourage or pressure me to have an abortion should I become pregnant. That was my choice - and a very important one to me.
Senate Bill 1564 would remove that choice and would eliminate all doctor offices that are specifically set up to serve pro-life women because those doctors would now be required to recommend abortion as a legitimate treatment option.
Think of a pro-life OB/GYN that has cared for a couple who is now about four months pregnant. At the request of the couple, the doctor performs a test to find out if the child has any fetal abnormalities. The test comes back positive for downs syndrome.
At this point, the doctor understands that science says life begins at conception and that the unborn child’s heart is beating, s/he can hiccup in the womb, has fingers and toes, and would feel the pain of being dismembered by an abortion.
But instead of using medical knowledge and science to recommend treatment options to the parents, Senate Bill 1564 forces the doctor to suggest abortion as an option, give the parents a list of places they can receive an abortion, and tell them the “benefits” of aborting their child.
Or what about the pregnancy resource centers that are supported entirely by private donations and volunteers from the community to help women in unplanned pregnancies? They support women with free ultrasounds, pregnancy testing, counseling, clothing, parenting classes, and much more. They don’t recommend abortion for any reason. Some of the counselors have had abortions themselves and have experienced first hand the anguish and pain abortion causes women.
Their experience is supported by rigorous scientific studies (like this one here) from all around the world that show a correlation between abortion and increased risks of breast cancer, suicide attempts, drug and alcohol abuse, and other mental health struggles.
Under this bill, that counselor now must provide her patient with a list of places that woman can receive an abortion and tell her the “benefits” of abortion.
Why would the government ever force trained medical professionals to help a women get a procedure they sincerely believe will hurt her?
Illinoisans should be free to live and work according to their beliefs and not forced to aid and abet what we believe is a the killing of a person.
Illinois State Representative Peter Breen (R-48) wrote about SB1564 in the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Let’s say someone asks you to drive for a bank robbery, and you respond, ‘I won’t do it, but here’s a list of three guys who may.’ Under law, you’re as responsible for the bank robbery as the trigger man and the driver — you aided and encouraged the crime.”
Moreover, the bill is so poorly written that it could jeopardize Illinois’ federal funding! In a bipartisan letter to the General Assembly, Illinois Congressmen warned:
…the provisions [in SB1564] stand in stark contrast to the requirements of superseding federal law, including the Church Amendment, the Coast-Snowe Amendment, and the annual Hyde-Weldon Amendment. Moving forward with such legislation at the state level could seriously imperil federal funds for healthcare programs, including under Medicare and Medicaid.
Is this bill worth losing federal funding over?
Abortions in Illinois have been declining for six straight years in Illinois. That's something we all can celebrate - pro-life or pro-choice. But now the abortion industry wants to hike up those numbers by forcing every medical professional to refer for abortions.
Pro-life medical professionals would rather end their career or close down their pregnancy help center than to be forced to participate in abortion.
Chasing away workers from the healthcare field is a disastrous healthcare policy.
Frankly, as a woman, I’m offended that politicians believe women are too stupid to find an abortion clinic by ourselves, especially in the age of Google and smart phones.
We strongly urge Governor Rauner to veto this bill.
Learn more about SB1564 and sign the petition to Governor Rauner at www.ProtectMyConscience.org
Emily Zender is the executive director of Illinois Right to Life