Legislative Action

ACTION ALERT - HB 40 - Horrible Pro-Abortion, Anti-Life Bill

This bill has the potential to reverse almost every pro-life effort made in Illinois and will protect abortion if regulated, defunded or o...

May 20, 2016

City of Chicago and Illinois Department of Public Health Risk Women's Health and Safety

On May 19th, the Thomas More Society filed complaints against the City of the Chicago and the Illinois Department of Public Health for refusing to release information that is rightfully available under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, known as FOIA. The actions arise from requests by the Pro-Life Action League and private citizens for records that were legitimately requested in accordance with FOIA and have not been fulfilled. Both FOIAs were filed regarding matters involving the health and safety of women at abortion clinics.

Thomas Olp, attorney with the Thomas More Society, explained, "Both the City of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Public Health have acted unreasonably and unlawfully in withholding the requested public records. These FOIAs were filed seeking information regarding abortion clinics at which women's health and safety may be at risk. In both cases, the legitimate public interest in seeking the records is provable and compelling. Yet neither the city nor the health department has complied with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act which declares the public policy of the State of Illinois to be that 'all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government.'"

He added that the Illinois FOIA law raises a presumption that "all records in the custody or possession of a public body are ...open to inspection or copying." While private information may be exempt from public disclosure (if it is "highly personal or objectionable to a reasonable person and in which the subject's right to privacy outweighs any legitimate public interest in obtaining the information"), the burden of proving the exemption rests squarely on the agency asserting the exemption. In neither case, Olp maintained, has the city or health department met the burden of proving that its refusal to disclose public records was justified.

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