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ACLU, Planned Parenthood Seek to Ban Reproductive Choice in Illinois

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are pursuing a surprising new agenda in Illinois: banning women’s reproductive choices.

Anna Paprocki is not just a pro-life lobbyist; she is one of many women who choose Drs. Caruso and Lawler of Downers’ Grove Ob/Gyn. Some of those women drive more than an hour because they value a patient-doctor relationship that is based on a firm commitment to treat unborn children as patients along with the mother rather than as targets to be eliminated.


The ACLU and its allies will soon make those women’s choices illegal. Its bill, SB 1564, amends the state Health Care Right of Conscience Act to prohibit doctors from being consistently pro-life by forcing them to hand out abortionists’ information. As Paprocki testified, “I will be denied my right to choose reproductive care at a practice that does not refer or arrange for abortion in any way.”

SB 1564 passed the Illinois Senate anyway and is before the House this week. But 36 pro-life medical centers around Illinois have joined a letter spearheaded by Alliance Defending Freedom that condemns the bill’s impact of taking away Illinois women’s freedom to choose a pro-life medical provider.

While Planned Parenthood takes cash or credit, pro-life medical centers offer free help and medical procedures to women who are in unexpected pregnancies. They give women an actual choice besides abortion. No wonder Planned Parenthood is lobbying to take that choice away.

Another woman Planned Parenthood would deprive of her choice is Jada. She and her boyfriend were considering abortion for financial reasons but got a free ultrasound from Aid for Women, a center in Wicker Park that signed the letter against SB 1564. The ultrasound found two beautiful twins.


Sadly, not all likely voices have spoken in defense of women like Anna and Jada. The Catholic Conference of Illinois and Catholic hospitals decided to neither support nor oppose SB 1564. But their neutrality is being drowned out by a chorus of voices defending the right of women to choose pro-life care and protecting the generous work of pregnancy centers.

On May 11, all five Illinois guilds of the Catholic Medical Association, in Bloomfield, Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield, endorsed a letter against SB 1564, saying the bill “attacks patient choice by taking away Illinois women’s choice of physicians and facilities that will heal only, and that will not assist or provide information for those who kill.”

Nationally renowned bioethicists Robert P. George, Christian Brugger, and the National Catholic Bioethics Center have called SB 1564 or what it requires immoral. Five more national pro-life organizations with physician or medical facility members in Illinois joined the 36 statewide centers’ letter.

The biggest factor in SB 1564’s fate, however, might be its fiscal impact. Several longstanding federal laws declare that Illinois will lose billions of dollars in funding if they force doctors to refer or make arrangements to refer for abortion. Forcing a pro-life doctor to give a woman information on places he believes may kill her baby is a referral and an arrangement that Illinois cannot coerce.


A bipartisan group of Illinois members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Peter Roskam (R-6), Daniel Lipinski (D-3), and Randy Hultgren (R-14), sent their own letter warning Illinois of its loss of funding if SB 1564 passes. The ACLU summoned a weak response from only Democrat members, wishing away the plain language of federal conscience statutes. Even President Obama has taken actions to enforce these laws.

It’s shocking that the ACLU and Planned Parenthood want to deprive women of pro-life reproductive care. But their bottom line is politics and money, not women’s choices.


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