At Attack on the Freedom of Illinois Health Care Providers

Now pending in the Illinois General Assembly is House Bill 2354, the “Reproductive Health and Access Act”.

Francis Cardinal George, of Chicago, has issued a letter which merits reading, not only by Catholics, but by everyone who believes in freedom of conscience, and freedom from being commanded by the State to engage in morally abhorrent acts in order to practice your profession.

Thirty years ago, we were told that abortion is a rare but necessary tragedy and that abortion providers should not be legally punished. Today we are being told that abortion is a human right and that those who qualify it in any manner or who will not provide it should be legally punished.

This proposed law will drive Catholic doctors and nurses from health care and will make it impossible for Catholic hospitals to continue to be places where life is always respected, where no one is deliberately killed. In our country, we recognize conscientious objection to war, even though defending one’s country is a noble and moral act. We recognize the conscientious objection of those doctors who will not cooperate in administering the death penalty, even for terrible crimes. Why do some Illinois legislators want to take away conscientious objection to abortion?

To contact your Illinois legislator, please go to, or call 312-368-1066.

Text of the Bill here.

9 thoughts on “At Attack on the Freedom of Illinois Health Care Providers”

  1. Seems to me that unless the abortion is required as an immediate procedure to save the life of the mother it is no more medically required than plastic surgery. Are plastic surgeons required to perform plastic surgery on anyone who seeks their services? To compel a Catholic Hospital and Catholic doctors to perform abortions would appear to me to be a violation of their rights to freedom of religion. There are other hospitals and doctors who are willing to perform abortions and those woman who want an abortion should instead seek them out. The legislators who vote for this should know better than this and should be compelled to reimburse the legal expenses of the plaintiffs if this bill should pass and the costs to the State for defending it as well. Law makers should have a minimum knowledge of what constitutes a valid law before voting for things that in all likelihood will fail to pass judicial review.

  2. Bob, you may believe the law to be invalid on its face. But it if is passed, it is going to force providers who object to abortion on moral or religious grounds to either (1) assist in procuring abortions, even if they refuse to perform them, or (2) have their licenses revoked.

    The law should not be passed in the first place.

  3. This is the classic can-should-must evolution.

    We saw this in the change in attitudes towards women working fulltime. At first, it was woman CAN choose to work. The it became presumed that woman SHOULD choose to work. Now women MUST work with little more choice in the matter than men have always had. Something that started out as freedom of choice has now become an economic compulsion.

    Medical care providers and abortion has followed the same evolution. At first it was presented as a freedom to choose provide abortions. Then it became that they should provide abortions. Now the law is that they MUST provide abortions regardless of their individual moral stances on it.

    Recently, there has been increasing talk of whether people who depend on the state for healthcare should be allowed to bring fetuses with congenital defects to term. I can remember wild-eyed religious zealots in the 70’s being mocked for suggesting that if we allowed choice in abortions (the CAN) then we would eventually end up with compulsory abortions. Sadly, they’ve pretty much spot on.

  4. “The Catholic Church has no choice. It must close down its hospitals.”

    Maybe not. Maybe the law won’t pass. If it does, maybe just operate as is and defy the state to respond, while a constitutional challenge makes its way through the courts.

  5. Doctors & nurses have no greater responsibility than complete support of their patients wishes. Options and recommendations made to a patient based on the practitioners belief in the supernatural, makes them little more than witchdoctors & shamans. If Catholics organisations & individuals feel personally compromised by giving their patients all the information that patients need to make a decision for themselves, then you are right, they should get out of doctoring, because they are not fit for the role. If they continue in the profession and neglect to perform their roles without the religious baggage, then prosecute, convict and jail them.

  6. If they continue in the profession and neglect to perform their roles without the religious baggage, then prosecute, convict and jail them.

    So much for choice.

  7. I assume the term “religious baggage” is an indication of Orion77’s depth. Perhaps that explains why he feels so little need to honor other’s.

  8. Funny,

    Orion and other jackasses like her/him/both generally don’t want the Catholic church to get out of the business of donating and funneling HUGE amounts of money to the poor/needy throughout the world in very helpful ways. Then religion is ok I guess…

    hypocrite in the open…

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