“I want to say to any doctor out there, and certainly any doctor I’m going to: your moral beliefs? Frankly, I could give a damn . . . I don’t want your moral judgments; don’t need your moral judgments. Save that for some theology discussion you’re having over dinner.”
Thus spoke Illinois State Senator Linda Holmes in a recent debate over SB 1564. Her thinking isn’t any clearer than her rhetoric: The bill would in fact force pro-life health-care workers to “comply with access to care protocols”—in other words, to personally promote and facilitate abortions.
It passed the Senate by a vote of 34-19 on April 23.When the legislature recessed people of conscience breathed a sigh of relief—until Thursday.
By Thursday it was apparent that House Speaker Michael Madigan was about to call the House back into a special session to pass the bill—and to present Governor Rauner with a chance to do something courageous: veto it.
The vote may have happened by the time you read this.
SB 1564 is one of the first salvos in an abortion-industry counterattack on pro-life success. What the abortion industry has not won—and cannot win—by persuasion, it is now attempting to take by coercion.
Everyone knows the infant-murder industry is threatened by the success of state legislation designed to put brakes on the headlong rush of young women into its clutches—legislation which has the effect of squeezing Planned Parenthood’s profit margins.
The trend, documented by the (abortion-friendly) Guttmacher Institute, began after the 2010 elections, and has continued since.
State-enacted abortion legislation includes physician quality-control measures, mandatory counseling and/or waiting periods, parental involvement, licensing requirements, and more—all designed to protect women’s health and, in their inventiveness, proving that states are, indeed, the laboratories of democracy.
Now, the abortion industry is striking back and defending its business model.
However, it has a problem. How can abortionists make their product look attractive? It’s not as if they can claim any moral high ground, or invoke any noble sentiments, or appeal to any notion of truth and beauty as they try to drive customers to . . . abortuaries.
Certainly not when their potential customers are members of the post-Roe generations, keenly aware that unborn life deserves protection and rejecting abortion in increasing numbers.
So what’s Big Abortion to do?
Hillary Clinton put her finger on the industry’s problem when she said “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
How does the abortion lobby plan to change millennia-old culture and religion? By resorting to what the Founding Fathers called tyranny: Use government to tell people what they can and cannot legally believe. If customers don’t want the product, re-educate the customers.
It’s not unlike what the LGBT lobby is doing in the wake of the Obergefell decision: punishing anybody who fails to agree with them. In Oregon, a baker was fined $135,000 for declining to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because he did not want to endorse that “marriage” (those quotation marks would be forbidden under LGBT thought-control formulae). Look for more of the same as trench warfare over religious freedom erupts across the country.
The pro-life fight can’t avoid this kind of trench warfare, even though the leadership of the movement has always welcomed non-religious voices in defense of life. Think: Libertarians for Life, and more recently Secular Pro-Life.
There will be no avoiding the religious-freedom battle because now the counter-attack is aimed right at the nexus of belief and action.
According to Guttmacher, 45 states allow individual health-care providers to refuse to participate in an abortion.
The abortion lobby is out to take away the right of refusal. Considering its political history, Illinois, where the fight is hot right now, should be a friendly turf for them.
SB1564 would force pregnancy centers to refer for abortion. It would require doctors to facilitate abortions—regardless of any conscientious objection. It would make the existence of a “pro-life ob-gyn practice” legally impossible.
SB 1564 is called an amendment. It is—an Orwellian misnomer. In a bitter instance of the misuse of language for the sake of propaganda, these changes will amend the state’s “Health Care Right of Conscience Act.”
If it passes, I suppose the next logical step in Illinois will be a “Religious Freedom Act” telling preachers what they can and cannot say about sexual morality.
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Connie Marshner is a commentator and researcher on life and family issues in the Washington, D.C., area.