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UPDATE x1: Prolife Ob-Gyn files lawsuit against Gov Rauner, claims new law stifles freedom of conscience



Dr. Anthony Caruso is one of the plaintiffs in lawsuit filed against Governor Rauner

UPDATE X1: Monday, Illinois Review spoke with attorney Noel Sterett, of the Chicago area law firm Mauck & Baker LLC, who said that his firm is prepared to take their complaint from the trial court level to the appellate and Supreme Court level in order to protect medical personnel's right of conscience. 

"No man or woman should be put in the place of recommending medical procedures and their benefits when it goes against their conscience," Sterett said. "The purpose of this law was to compel speech, something that's unconstitutional."

Sterett said that while the law they are objecting to was intended to force doctors and pregnancy agencies to counsel about abortion, the amendment to the Right of Conscience Act was broadly written and could impact counsel of other medical practices – some which are currently illegal in Illinois, such as assisted suicide and euthanasia. 

ROCKFORD – An Illinois doctor and two pregnancy care centers filed suit in state court against Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday after he signed a bill into law that forces doctors and medical facilities to promote controversial health care procedures, regardless of their ethical or moral views on the practice.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the plaintiffs, including Dr. Anthony Caruso, who practices medicine in Downers Grove at the Bella Baby OBGYN center, as well as the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford and Aid for Women, a Chicago non-profit that runs six pregnancy help centers and two residential programs, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

ADF sent a letter to Rauner in May on behalf of numerous pro-life physicians, pregnancy care centers, and pregnancy care center network organizations advising him that the bill, SB 1564, would violate federal law and therefore place federal funding, including Medicaid reimbursements, in jeopardy. ADF also warned legislators about the problems with the bill last year. The lawsuit claims the new law, which is actually an amendment to the existing Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act, violates state law and the state constitution.

“No state should attempt to rob women of the right to choose a pro-life doctor by forcing pro-life physicians and entities to make or arrange abortion referrals. What’s even worse is that Illinois did this by amending a law designed specifically to protect freedom of conscience,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman. “The governor should have vetoed this bill for many reasons, including its incompatibility with Illinois law and the state constitution, which specifically protects freedom of conscience and free speech.”

The new law forces medical facilities and physicians who conscientiously object to involvement in abortions to adopt policies that provide women who ask for abortions with a list of providers “they reasonably believe may offer” them. Illinois law prohibits government from placing burdens on religious conscience without a compelling interest for doing so. Additionally, the Illinois Constitution protects “liberty of conscience,” saying that “no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his religious opinions.” It also protects free speech, which includes the right not to be compelled by government to speak a message contrary to one’s own conscience.

“Pro-life health care professionals shouldn’t be forced to hand out lists describing how to contact abortionists, yet that’s what this law mandates that they do,” explained ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot.

“If this profane amendment to Illinois’ conscience protection law remains on the books, doctors and medical staff committed to saving all lives will be forced to promote the killing of some children, women will lose access to doctors who unconditionally value human life, and pregnancy resource centers that offer free help and hope to pregnant women will be forced to refer to abortionists. This is the kind of government coercion that the state constitution, the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the very law that was amended were all designed to prevent.”


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  1. Thank you for standing tall doctor Caruso!
    The fascist state of Illinois says no, you Christians cannot worship God your way, you must worship your God our way and you must sin because we say so, we don’t give a hoot about your religious right of conscience!
    Illinois has enacted statutory law which has effectively established a state church by denying ALL Christians Biblical truth and creating apostate church doctrine; which is contrary to our constitutionally protected right of religious freedom. The Religious freedom clause (Art 1, sec. 3) enshrined in the Illinois constitution’s Bill of Rights is meant to handcuff government’s power so that our God-given right to the free exercise of religion is preserved, protected, and respected.
    The Pilgrims left England and came to America because of the same kind of religious oppression the state of Illinois is persecuting Illinois Christians, like Doctor Caruso…. it’s easy to see the truth and tyranny in this matter! The corrupt supporters in the general assembly of sb 1564 think they are above the law, it’s despotism by committee…