The Thomas More Society filed suit this week in federal court on behalf of a pro-life physician and two pro-life pregnancy resource centers challenging Public Act 99-690, the controversial law that forces physicians and other health care providers to provide information about the so-called benefits of abortion and to give referrals to abortion providers upon request. The suit advances claims under the federal constitution as well as a number of federal laws, including the Hyde-Weldon Amendment.
The plaintiffs are Dr. Ronald L. Schroeder, 1st Way Life Center, and Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs (PASS). Dr. Schroeder provides pro bono medical care to women in crisis pregnancy situations. PASS and 1st Way are pregnancy resource centers that help women choose life for their babies by providing emotional and material assistance to women and families. All the plaintiffs are pro-life Christians whose efforts are inspired by their religious faith, but their faith also precludes them from counseling about the supposed benefits of abortion or referring clients to abortion providers. P.A. 99-690 requires them to do just that and exposes them to discrimination, sanctions, and liability if they do not comply.
Thomas Olp, attorney for the Thomas More Society, observed, “Our clients have spent decades helping women choose life for their unborn babies. This law targets pro-life physicians and pregnancy centers, which do not refer for abortion, and whose pro-life mission is to advise clients of abortion alternatives such as parenting and adoption. But the law forces center personnel to discuss supposed ‘benefits’ of abortion with clients and, upon request, to refer them to an abortion provider or give information about such providers. This law only targets those who, like our clients, conscientiously oppose discussing so-called benefits of abortion and referring for abortion, and leaves non-conscientious objectors unregulated. Our clients view this as a nefarious attempt by the abortion industry to protect its abortion business by silencing pro-life physicians and pregnancy resource centers, that, without a profit motive, try to convince pregnant women to choose life for their unborn child, not abortion.”
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