Challenge filed against Illinois law that requires doctors to tell pregnant women about abortion

Mar 20, 2017
Originally published on March 20, 2017 11:16 pm

Updated at 4:55 p.m. with Rauner administration response — An anti-abortion law firm has sued Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state of Illinois over a law that requires medical providers to tell pregnant patients that an abortion is an option.


The lawsuit, filed last week by the Thomas More Society, claims the provision in the Health Care Right of Conscience Act that took effect in January, is unconstitutional and violates religious rights. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction.

One of the plaintiffs is Dr. Ronald L. Schroeder, an OB-GYN physician from Jerseyville, who declined to comment to St. Louis Public Radio when reached by phone Monday. Efforts to speak with an attorney for the Thomas More Society weren’t immediately successful.


In the lawsuit, Schroeder says that he is morally opposed to abortions except when a woman’s life is in danger.


“In his professional opinion, a medical doctor practicing in Illinois prior to 2017 was never obligated to discuss with a patient treatment options that the doctor does not believe, in his or her independent and reasonable professional judgment, present benefits to the patient,” the lawsuit says.


Schroeder also said in the lawsuit that he tries to help women see pregnancy in a “positive light.”


The other plaintiffs, two pregnancy help centers in the Chicago suburbs, argue that they have a “sincere religious objection” to giving information about or telling women to have an abortion or use contraception or sterilization techniques.


Rauner signed the law, which was passed by the General Assembly, last year. His office said it cannot comment on pending ligitation.


The other defendants are: Rauner, Bryan A. Schneider at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation; Tom Price, the secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services Department; and Sean Cavanaugh, the acting director of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Follow Erica on Twitter: @ehunzinger

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