The Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford v. Rauner
Description: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that forces doctors and medical facilities to promote abortion regardless of their ethical or moral views on the practice even though the bill conflicts with federal and state law as well as the federal and state constitutions.
Illinois, Hawaii put federal funding in jeopardy by forcing pregnancy centers, doctors to promote abortion
ADF attorneys represent pregnancy care centers and physicians in both a state and federal lawsuit in Illinois and a federal lawsuit in Hawaii. So far, courts have issued injunctions against the forced-advertising law at issue in both Illinois cases.
“Government officials shouldn’t be allowed to force anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry,” said ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves. “Furthermore, federal law simply doesn’t allow it. States that compel pro-life doctors and staff to act contrary to their conscience do not qualify for federal funds. We have filed these complaints to inform HHS of what is happening so that it can take action.”
ADF attorneys submitted the complaints on behalf of Dr. Anthony Caruso and A Bella Baby OBGYN in Illinois, Dr. Tina Gingrich and Maryville Women’s Center in Illinois, and A Place for Women in Hawaii. The three complaints explain that the rights of doctors and pregnancy care centers “to offer medical assistance to women in need without compromising their religious convictions relating to abortion or abortion-causing drugs are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution” in addition to federal law, Illinois law, and the Illinois and Hawaii constitutions.
Illinois SB 1564 compels speech and action in violation of the oaths of health professionals. Specifically, pro-life doctors and pregnancy centers must tell pregnant women the names of doctors they believe offer abortions, that abortion has unspecified “benefits,” and that abortion is a “treatment option” for pregnancy.
Hawaii SB 501 requires pro-life pregnancy care centers, which offer free ultrasound and other prenatal care to pregnant women, to direct women to a state agency that provides abortion referrals. Specifically, the law requires pro-life pregnancy centers to post large signs or provide fliers which advertise that the “state of Hawaii provides free or low-cost access to comprehensive planning services”—including abortion-inducing drugs—and they must also include both a website address and phone number for the scheduling of those services.
Courts have invalidated or mostly invalidated similar laws in Austin, Texas; Montgomery County, Maryland; Baltimore; and New York City. In March, ADF attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving a California law.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Elissa Graves serves as legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Life. Since joining ADF in 2013, Graves has focused her efforts on protecting the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life pregnancy centers and their staff, as well as pro-life sidewalk counselors. Graves earned her Juris Doctor at the University of Texas School of Law in 2013. She is member of the state bars of Arizona, Texas, and the District of Columbia. Graves is also admitted to multiple federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.