Tuesday, Jan 10, 2023

The Catholic Conference of Illinois opposes House Bill 4664, legislation that proposes a number of changes to Illinois abortion law. The bill does the following:

• Allows Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants to perform aspiration abortions not requiring general anesthesia.
• Provides there is no cause of action against a health care professional, medical institution, or pregnant person for the wrongful death of a person caused by an abortion
where abortion is permitted by law and consent was given.
• Birth centers, which have been places where mothers can give birth, would now be able to also provide abortions under this bill.
• For insurance plans not otherwise exempt from state insurance law mandates, it requires abortifacients and hormonal therapy medication to be covered at no-cost.
• Protects information about abortion from subpoenas and orders for testimony issued in other states.

This bill also would allow for certain out of state health care professionals to apply for temporary permits to come here to provide abortions and also prevent the state from taking disciplinary action against health care professionals if solely based on if they violated other states’ laws on abortion if otherwise legal in Illinois or were disciplined in those other states for providing abortion-related services.

The Catholic Church in Illinois, through its Project Rachel, Elizabeth Ministries and Walking with Moms in Need program as well as through Catholic Charities and Catholic hospitals, provides care to help pregnant women in need. Because of this, we know the stories of the women who come to us for assistance. While it is unfortunately true that not every unplanned pregnancy is welcomed with joy, there are better policies for women and their unborn child than what is being put forth with this legislation.

Most women “choose” abortion because they believe they have no other choice. We know that abortion is a symptom of – it is never a solution to – the problems faced by women.

Statistics gathered by abortion supporters reveal that the primary reasons women with unintended pregnancies turn to abortion are lack of financial resources and lack of emotional support. Many women say they feel abandoned or even coerced into having an abortion. Many fathers abandon the woman who is carrying their child, and sadly, domestic violence against single pregnant women is being reported with greater frequency. The legislation being considered here does nothing to address the real problems pregnant women in need face.

After the Dobbs decision, some states are enacting policies that promote real assistance to women, helping them address the reasons they feel alone and lack support. Our state however seems to be simply focused on increasing the number of abortions, which begs the question “How does this help women?”

A better way forward would be to enact policies that actually impact pregnant women, unborn children, and families. Instead of becoming a destination for abortions, what if our state were known as a sanctuary for life? Here are just a few ideas to help that happen.

• Create alternatives to abortion programs.
• Enact a sales tax exemption for diapers and infant car seats.
• Establish a Life Resources Website to provide a one-stop location where women, families, and providers can find the help they need.
• Reduce the cost of adoption by increasing the state adoption tax credit and covering the costs of home inspections.
• Create a tax credit for donations to pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies.
• Provide financial support for mothers and their children.