The Sanctity of Human Life
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, 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 immediately was drawn into an 18-year court battle, which ended in July 2013 after the Illinois Supreme Court ruled the law could finally be implemented. The law took effect August 15, 2013.
The department also works to defend 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. The Catholic Conference prevented the law from being stripped of all authority by negotiating a less hostile amendment to the law during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions.
Representatives from each diocese make up the Catholics for Life Department.
Susan DiDomizio – Joliet
Dawn Fitzpatrick – Chicago
Mary Fleming – Belleville
Donna Moore – Springfield-in-Illinois
Cecilia Sone – Peoria
Therese Stahl – Rockford
Dawn Fitzpatrick serves as the current chair of the Catholics for Life department.