In a case that has divided courts, a federal judge in Illinois ruled a law that would force pregnancy centers to promote abortion regardless of their moral views likely is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Frederick Kapala determined an amendment to the state’s health care laws likely will be overturned when the issue comes to trial.
He issued a temporary injunction preventing the law’s enforcement until the case is concluded.
“The amended act targets the free speech rights of people who have a specific viewpoint,” he wrote.
The law would require doctors and pregnancy care centers, even those that are pro-life, to promote abortion.
“The government is out of line when it attempts to force Americans to communicate a message that is contrary to their most deeply held beliefs,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves.
“In addition, the state shouldn’t be robbing women of the freedom to choose a pro-life doctor by mandating that pro-life physicians and entities make or arrange abortion referrals. The court was right to halt enforcement of this law while our lawsuit proceeds.”
ADF represents multiple pregnancy care centers, a pregnancy care center network and a doctor in a lawsuit challenging the law.
They argue the amendment to the existing Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
ADF said SB 1564 “forces pregnancy care centers, 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.”
“Federal law prohibits the government from placing burdens on religious conscience without a compelling interest for doing so.”
The plaintiffs, the judge found, have “demonstrated a better than negligible chance of succeeding in showing that the amended act discriminates based on their viewpoint by compelling them to tell their patients that abortion is a legal treatment option, which has benefits, and, at a minimum and upon request, to give their patients the identifying information of providers who will perform an abortion.”
ADF-allied attorney and co-counsel Noel Sterett with Mauck & Baker LLC said the government “has no business forcing pro-life doctors and pregnancy care centers in Illinois 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,” Sterett said.
Thomas A. Glessner, president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, said the decision “correctly interprets the Constitution to prohibit compelled speech mandating faith-based ministries to speak a message with which they are fundamentally opposed.”
“We applaud this ruling that stops the state of Illinois from forcing pro-life pregnancy medical clinics to become abortion referral agencies,” he said.
Glessner’s organization also has been involved in a similar case in California, where ADF also is representing pro-life groups.
Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the most overturned appeals court in the nation, decided to affirm the right of the state to impose restrictions on residents’ speech.
It’s not a new dispute. WND reported in 2014 almost identical arguments in Montgomery County, Maryland, where an appeals court decided against rules that would restrict the speech of pregnancy centers.
Related cases also have developed in New York, Austin and Baltimore.
The New Jersey case arose when abortion advocates in the government decided to require pro-life pregnancy centers that offer advice, diapers and other help to mothers-to-be to post a sign advising women to go to another clinic for help.
The push for the mandatory signs came from county officials who adopted the demands of pro-abortion interests such as the National Abortion Rights Action League.
But as U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasenow found, there was no evidence that such signs were needed.
“Even assuming … that [pro-life] centers are presenting themselves as medical providers and thus pregnant women are accepting their misinformation as sound medical advice, the county must still demonstrate the next supposition on the logical chain: that these practices are having the effect of harming the health of pregnant women,” the judge wrote in banning the county from imposing its signage requirement.
The judge said the county “has failed this task.”
The police knew there was a problem in the Women’s Medical Society of Philadelphia, but they didn’t realize just what the problem was until they got there.
They thought they were raiding the largest supplier of illicit prescription painkillers in the City of Brotherly Love, but once inside, they found that Kermit Gosnell’s medical office was something much worse.
When investigators with the FBI, DEA and Philadelphia Police Department raided Gosnell’s clinic on February 18, 2010, they expected to find a “pill mill” but instead found a house of horrors.
There was blood on the floor and the smell of urine in the air. The two surgery rooms were dirty and unsanitary, completely unbefitting a surgical facility. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions sat on filthy recliners covered with blood-stained blankets in the waiting room or recovery room.
And then there were the severed body parts of late-term aborted babies displayed in jars over a dirty sink.
And the remains of 47 aborted babies crammed into a freezer and packed into boxes in the basement, all with mysterious wounds across the backs of their necks.
Police soon realized they had uncovered a “House of Horrors” where babies were routinely born alive during very late-term abortions only to be brutally murdered.
Cheryl Sullenger, senior vice president of Operation Rescue, attended Gosnell’s murder trial in 2013. She relays shocking eyewitness revelations from the often heart-wrenching testimony in her brand-new book “The Trial of Kermit Gosnell: The Shocking Details and What It Revealed About the Abortion Industry in America,” available now from World Ahead Press.
It would be bad enough if the Gosnell case were an isolated incident, but Sullenger, who has over 30 years of experience researching abortion industry abuses, provides evidence that shows Gosnell is not alone.
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, praised Sullenger’s book:
“Without the hard work of Cheryl Sullenger, the public might never have heard of Kermit Gosnell. Cheryl hounded the district attorney, pored over documents late at night, and traveled to Philadelphia to attend the trial when there was only a couple of local news reporters in the courtroom. As you read her book, you will feel like you are sitting in the courtroom with her, experiencing all the emotions of one of the most important abortion-related trials in history.”
Newman and Sullenger previously coauthored “Abortion Free,” which was published by WND Books in 2014.
In “Abortion Free,” Newman and Sullenger reveal the horrors being perpetrated at abortion clinics all over the country and offer Americans a practical manual on how to shut down dirty, life-threatening clinics in their own communities.
“The Trial of Kermit Gosnell,” Sullenger’s new book, is published by World Ahead Press as part of a revolutionary co-publishing program. WND partnered with World Ahead Press to help more Christian and conservative authors get published, thereby combating the flood of liberal books coming from the many leftist publishers in New York.
WND is always eager to talk to aspiring authors about publishing their books with World Ahead Press, especially books on any of the following topics: freedom of religion, the Second Amendment, the rise of socialism in America, Obama’s conspiracies to destroy the Constitution, Bill and Hillary Clinton, freedom and liberty, living the Christian life, the dangers of Islam, early American history, Common Core, and prayer and the Bible.
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