Illinois HB2354 to nullify Health Care Right of Conscience Act
Illinois, USA (2009-2010)
Illinois has a broadly worded protection of conscience law for health
care workers, one of the most comprehensive in the United States [Health
Care Right of Conscience Act]. There seems to be no
evidence that the operation of this Act has caused any problem
in the state.
Perhaps for this reason, those who want to suppress freedom of conscience
for Illinois health care workers did not dare to move to repeal or amend the
existing law. Instead, they have introduced the following bill, which
is clearly intended to nullify the Health Care Right of Conscience
Act with respect to abortion, contraception and related services and
procedures. The nullification of the HCRC Act is accomplished through
the "notwithstanding" clauses ("Notwithstanding . . . any other law to the
The bill failed to pass and died in January, 2011 after two years in
96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2009 and 2010
Introduced 2/19/2009, by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie - Rosemary Mulligan - Naomi
D. Jakobsson - Elizabeth Coulson - Sara Feigenholtz, et al.
105 ILCS 110/3 from Ch. 122, par. 863
AN ACT concerning public health.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the
Section 1. Short title.
This Act may be cited as the Reproductive
Health and Access Act.
Section 5. Findings and policy.
The General Assembly finds and
declares that every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy with
respect to reproductive decisions. It is the public policy of this
State to ensure that all individuals have appropriate and necessary access
to the full range of reproductive education, healthcare and services,
including but not limited to prenatal care, adoption, contraceptive care
including timely access to emergency contraception, pregnancy termination,
comprehensive sexual health education, and screening and treatment for
sexually transmitted infections.
Section 10. Definitions.
In this Act:
"Physician" means a person licensed to practice medicine in all of its
branches under the Medical Practice Act of 1987.
"Pregnancy termination" or "termination of pregnancy" means any medical
treatment intended to terminate a pregnancy. Pregnancy termination shall not
include medical treatment conducted for the purpose of increasing the
probability of the birth of a sustainable life."Viability"
means that stage
of pregnancy when, in the good faith medical judgment of the attending
physician, based on the particular medical facts of the case before the
physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical
Section 15. Prohibition of interference and retaliation.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other law to
the contrary, the State or any municipality, political subdivision, or other
governmental unit or agency shall not:
(1) deny or interfere with an individual's right to use or refuse
(2) deny or interfere with a pregnant woman's right to bear
(3) deny or interfere with a pregnant woman's right to
terminate a pregnancy:
(i) prior to the viability of the fetus or
the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant
(4) require any woman to terminate pregnancy without her consent.
Any party aggrieved by conduct that violates subsections (1) through (4) of
this Section may bring a civil lawsuit in a State circuit court or as a
supplemental claim in a federal district court, against the offending unit
of government. If a federal or State court finds that a violation of any of
subsections (1) through (4) of this Section has occurred, the court may
award to the plaintiff actual damages, declaratory or injunctive relief, a
temporary restraining order, or other relief. Upon a motion, the court shall
award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, including expert witness and
other other litigation expenses, to a plaintiff who is a prevailing party,
including where the plaintiff's pursuit of a non-frivolous claim was the a
catalyst for a unilateral change in position by the opposing party relative
to the relief sought.
Section 20. Non-discrimination in funding.
Notwithstanding any other
provision of this Act or any other law to the contrary, the State shall
ensure that individuals eligible for State medicaid assistance, or other
State medical assistance, receive financial assistance for reproductive
healthcare at least to the same extent as other comparable services.
Violation of this provision shall constitute a denial or interference in
contravention of Section 15 of this Act.
Section 25. Pregnancy terminations.
(a) Pregnancy terminations shall be performed in accordance with accepted
standards of medical practice, by the method that, in the clinical judgment of
the attending medical professional, will best serve the interests of the
pregnant patient. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other
law to the contrary, a qualified medical professional is not liable for civil
damages or subject to criminal penalty relating to a pregnancy termination
performed in good faith, in accordance with the attending medical professional's
good faith clinical judgment and accepted standards of medical practice.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other law to the
contrary, a report of each pregnancy termination performed shall be made to
the Illinois Department of Public Health on forms prescribed by the
Department. Such report forms shall not identify the patient by name and
shall preserve the anonymity of each woman who has obtained a pregnancy
termination. The Department of Public Health shall promulgate and enforce
regulations regarding the administration of these reporting requirements
that secure protection of patient identity and ensure the anonymity of each
woman who has undergone a pregnancy termination. Failure of the Department
to preserve confidentiality and anonymity shall constitute interference in
contravention of Section 15 of this Act.
Section 30. Sexual health education.
. . . [Full
Section 35. Patient access.
(a) Pursuant to this Act, all individuals shall have
appropriate and necessary access to the full range of
reproductive healthcare. Notwithstanding any other provision
of this Act or any other law to the contrary, individual health
care professionals who object to providing certain
reproductive health care based on religion or personal
conscience may refuse to provide such services only under the
(1) the objecting health care professional provides prior written notice to patients, or, where the objecting professional is an employee, to his or her employer, of his or her intention to refuse to provide such health care services;(2) the objecting health care professional or
another health care professional within his or her practice or place of employment provides the patient with timely, accurate, and complete information about the patient's care options in a balanced and professional manner;
objecting health care professional or another health care professional within his or her practice or place of employment assists the patient in obtaining such care in a timely fashion; and
(4) where the objecting health
care professional is an employee, the employer can accommodate the employee's objection without undue hardship.
(b) Violations of this Section
shall be sanctioned under State licensing statutes by the appropriate State agency.
Section 40. Construction.
This Act and the rules now or hereafter applicable thereto shall be liberally construed
consistent with the public policies announced in this Act.
The Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive
Health Education Act is amended by changing Section 3 as
. . . [Full
Section 97. Severability.
If any portion of this Act or any
amendments thereto, or its applicability to any person or
circumstance is held invalid by a court, the remainder of this
Act or its applicability to other persons or circumstances
shall not be affected.
Section 99. Effective date.
This Act takes effect upon becoming law.