News

Agreement reached on conscience rights

Copy of Bible-StethoscopeLast month, we posted about an attack on the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act in the form of Senate Bill 1564.

The Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act allows medical personnel and health care facilites to avoid participating in medical procedures — such as abortion, sterilization, and certain end-of-life care — that violate their beliefs and values.

The original form of Senate Bill 1564 easily passed a Democratic-led Senate committee on a 7-3 vote.

The Catholic Conference of Illinois and the Illinois Catholic Health Association worked to modify this bill to protect the conscience protections of doctors, hospitals, and health care facilities. The original  form of Senate Bill 1564 mandated referrals and had a section stating that if there is a delay in the provision of health care there is no conscience right. We could not allow that to happen, especially since the sponsor of the legislation had the votes to pass SB 1564 in its original form after it had passed committee.

We reached an agreement with the bill’s sponsor that reflects the current medical practices in Catholic hospitals. Catholic health care ethicists and Catholic hospital lawyers participated in the negotiations.

We are now taking a neutral stance regarding Senate Bill 1564. A neutral stance means that we neither support nor oppose the bill.

Please note that the amended SB 1564 requires no one to tell people where abortions can be obtained.