On July 19th, Federal Court Judge Kapala from the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois granted a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Public Act 99-690 that required physicians and other health care personnel to give patients written information and referrals for medical procedures the health care professional finds objectionable. This Act amended the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act (HCRCA) and attempted to force Christian medical personnel who objected to abortion to refer a patient to an abortion facility, a violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
If enforced, this statute would require pregnancy centers that employ medical personnel, such as CareNet, to refer women for abortion. Pregnancy centers not complying with the law would be subject to exorbitant fines and even closure. “This injunction is a victory for women and the pregnancy help movement,” said Barbara Singer, President of CareNet Pregnancy Services of DuPage. “CareNet will not be intimidated into referring vulnerable women to abortion facilities. CareNet has never had nor ever will have a policy of sending women to abortionists. Pregnant women deserve the compassion, love and help that pregnancy centers offer and as this case moves forward, we are confident that the courts will find this law unconstitutional and restore the religious liberty protection to Christian medical personnel granted in the First Amendment.”
CareNet operates four pregnancy help centers in the DuPage County area, in Wood Dale, Elmhurst, Naperville and Glen Ellyn, that offer free services including ultrasound to pregnant women in need. A fifth center in West Chicago is scheduled to open this year. For more information about CareNet, visit CarenetDupage.com. For help with a pregnancy, contact PregnantHelp.com.