By Steve Schmadeke
Christian crisis pregnancy centers in the south and far western suburbs are challenging a change in the state’s right-of-conscience law that since January requires physicians and nurses to notify pregnant patients of all their available options, including abortion.
The lawsuit, filed against state officials including Gov. Bruce Rauner, claims their constitutional free-speech rights are violated by the changes to the law because they have to offer advice they find morally wrong. The clinics also allege the new law violates federal laws banning discrimination against doctors and other health care workers who do not provide or refer patients for abortions.
Supporters of the law say the changes only require health care providers to inform patients of all their options — a standard practice of care in the medical field.
The law was originally passed — after the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion — to shield physicians opposed to performing the procedure. Modifications to that law, designed to protect patients who didn’t know all their options, were signed into law by Rauner last year after an emotional Illinois Senate subcommittee hearing that drew testimony from patients.
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