WASHINGTON — Pregnancy centers in Illinois are not acquiescing to a new state law requiring them to share abortion information with interested expectant mothers.
Last summer, legal representatives won a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the new law. Thursday, twenty-three Illinois pregnancy centers filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra.
The centers' brief defends their right to not promote abortion and a woman’s right to choose life for her unborn child. The NIFLA v. Becerra case out of California deals with whether the government can force pro-life pregnancy care centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry. The Illinois centers contend that they, like the California centers, are also being targeted by state efforts to force them to provide pro-abortion information to those who come to them for support.
In July 2017 an Illinois Federal District Court granted several pro-life pregnancy centers a preliminary injunction stopping Illinois’ efforts to enforce a recent amendment to the Healthcare Right of Conscience Act which forces pro-life medical professionals to promote the benefits of abortion and inform women where they can obtain an abortion. California enacted a similar law called the Reproductive FACT Act which is at issue in NIFLA v. Becerra.
Attorney Noel W. Sterett of Mauck & Baker, LLC, who represents the twenty-three pregnancy centers before the Supreme Court, said “The government has no business forcing pro-life doctors and pregnancy care centers to operate as referral agents for the abortion industry. A law that targets medical professionals because of their pro-life views and right of conscience is unconstitutional and unethical.”
"There are thousands of pregnancy centers across the country that work to ensure that women are not burdened by fear, financial concerns, or lack of information about their pregnancy," the group's statement said.
In 2017, the twenty three Illinois pregnancy centers represented in the brief served provided over 14,000 women with free pregnancy services and support including free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, parenting classes, baby clothes and other material assistance.