October 24, 2016
Life-Saving Center, Mobile Ultrasound Unit Awaiting Free Speech Ruling in Illinois
But, two years later, that’s exactly where Staman and her center find themselves, as named plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner challenging his ratification of a law this summer that attempts to force pro-life pregnancy centers like Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford to refer for abortions.
Rewriting the state’s Healthcare Right of Conscience Act to compel as many as 150 pregnancy help locations (the law’s broad language leaves its scope undefined) to keep an updated list of local abortion providers available to clients upon request, Democrats passed the bill on a party-line vote before Gov. Rauner—a Republican—signed it into law at the end of July.
Just days after the law—set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2017—was signed, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in state court, representing Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, as well as another pregnancy help organization, Aid for Women, and a life-affirming ob-gyn.
While Staman and her center, along with their fellow plaintiffs, await the next steps in the lawsuit, ADF also filed suit in a federal court, representing National Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), along with three more Illinois pregnancy help centers and an ob-gyn.
Amid the challenge in the courts to what ADF argues is a “classic example of compelled speech in violation of… Free Speech rights as protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Heartbeat International—a network of over 2,000 pregnancy help organizations to which Pregnancy Care Center belongs—has urged its Illinois affiliates to refuse to comply with the law.
Click here for more from National Right to Life.