October 28, 2021

Illinois House of Representatives Votes to Remove Right of Conscience for COVID Vaccine Exemptions

New legislation passed by the Illinois House of Representatives would prevent Illinoisans from using the Right of Conscience Act to defend their religious beliefs from employer-enacted vaccine mandates. Please call your Senators and tell them to oppose SB1169.

All currently approved COVID-19 vaccines used lines of stem cells originally harvested from aborted babies in their development or production. Because of this, many Americans are using their strongly held beliefs regarding the sanctity of life to apply for exemptions from vaccine mandates. Illinois's Right of Conscience Act, in addition to religious protections offered by the Constitution, has helped many pro-life Illinoisans defend their religious beliefs to obtain exemptions. If SB1169 is passed into law, that will no longer be the case.

As described on the Illinois General Assembly website, SB1169 was originally introduced in February to amend an unrelated law. After the first and second readings occurred, Representatives began introducing amendments to SB1169 that completely changed the content of the bill. House Floor Amendment No. 3 creates a clause at the end of the Right of Conscience Act that specifically prevents Illinoisans from using it to protect themselves from vaccine mandates.

Amendment 3 reads that it is not a violation of the Right of Conscience Act "for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, entity, institution, or employer" to enforce mandates "intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations."

The bill as amended passed the House by a vote of 64-52, with two Representatives voting present.

SB1169 will return to the Senate for another vote. If passed, it will be sent to Gov. Pritzker for signature.

The Right of Conscience Act has also been used by pro-life pregnancy centers to protect them from being forced to refer women for abortions. If this exception to the Right of Conscience Act is allowed now, pro-abortion politicians could easily come back in the future to create another exception targeting these clinics.

Please call your Senators and tell them to oppose SB1169! To find your representatives and their contact information, go to the link below and enter your address: