The Catholics for Life Department supports legislative efforts designed to reduce and eventually eliminate abortion. It opposes legislation or other policy initiatives that undermine the sanctity of human life at any stage from conception to natural death.
The Conference advocates such legislation as the Ultrasound Opportunity Act (House Bill 4085), which simply calls for a woman to be asked if she wants to view an ultrasound before she has an abortion. Abortion providers already use ultrasounds before an abortion for medical safety issues. The Ultrasound Opportunity Act gives women the access to more information before a final decision on an abortion.
Lawmakers in 2011 voted to abolish the death penalty and the governor signed the legislation into law. CCI opposes any reinstatement of the punishment.
Likewise, the Conference supports the 1995 Parental Notification of Abortion Act, which calls for parents or guardians to be notified 48 hours before a girl under 18 has an abortion. The law has yet to be enacted because of court challenges, but the Illinois Supreme Court in late 2011 agreed to hear those challenges.
The department also works to defend and expand the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which allows physicians, nurses and other health care personnel to refuse to participate in certain medical procedures because of conscience objections.
Zach Wichmann serves as the CCI staff member for the Catholics for Life Department.
Representatives from each diocese make up the Catholics for Life Department.
Sr. Jane Boos, S.S.N.D. – Springfield-in-Illinois
Margie Manczko Breen – Chicago
Laurie Edwards – Belleville
Tom Garlitz – Joliet
Reverend David Lawrence – Joliet
Mary Nemetz – Joliet
Jan Smith – Peoria
Mitch Striedl – Rockford
Rev. Stephen Thompson – Springfield-in-Illinois
Mary Jo Wasser – Springfield-in-Illinois
Mitch Striedl serves as the current chair of the department.