PALATINE - Governor Bruce Rauner's decision to join Illinois Democrats in both legislative chambers by signing into law SB 1564 sparked a response from State Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine. Morrison said Rauner's message in supporting the bill is that religious beliefs and free speech rights don't matter - a direct attack on First Amendment rights.
The new law that will go into effect in January 2017 forces Christian medical personnel and pregnancy centers to go against their religiously-held beliefs and counsel for procedures they find morally repugnant:
By adopting these new mandates, Governor Rauner and Democrat legislators are forcing medical professionals, including non-profit, privately funded crisis pregnancy centers, to participate in procedures for which they have strong ethical and moral objections. I spoke vociferously against this bill during the House debate and with the Governor and his staff directly. I am greatly disappointed in his decision today. The message delivered to Illinois citizens is that their religious beliefs and free speech rights do not matter. Illinois is less free and more hostile to people of faith as a result of this likely unconstitutional law.
Under this law, medical personnel and facilities will have to follow an objection protocol that includes providing a patient with information about the “risks and benefits” of all legal procedures, regardless of religious or moral objection, as well as information about where the patient can access objected-to procedures.
Pro-life physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel do not, nor should they ever, have to check their faith at the door when they care for their patients. The benevolent, life-affirming employees and volunteers at Illinois’ crisis pregnancy centers deserve our admiration and respect, not attacks by an over-reaching state government that violates their religious liberty and free speech rights.
As plaintiffs line up to fight back in court, I proudly and wholeheartedly support their efforts to overturn this despicable law. Thankfully, their chances of success are high, as Illinois pharmacists successfully challenged the state’s attempt to limit their rights of conscience back in 2005. We should do everything we can to help uphold our citizens’ civil liberties once again.