News Local/State

Illinois’ ‘Right Of Conscience’ Law Faces Pro-Life Challenge

Attorney Kevin Theriot

Kevin Theriot, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. Alliance Defending Freedom

A Downers Grove doctor and a pregnancy center in Rockford are suing to overturn Illinois' newly updated right-of-conscience law.

Governor Bruce Rauner -- a Republican who campaigned saying he had no social agenda -- is facing criticism from conservatives for signing the measure (SB1564) into law.

Right of conscience laws come into play at the crossroads of medical providers' obligations and their personal beliefs.

The governor just signed a law updating Illinois' statute.

No doctor is required to perform an abortion.

But a doctor -- even one with moral or faith-based opposition to the practice -- is required to refer a patient to a doctor who will.

To the obstetrician and the pregnancy centers represented by attorney Kevin Theriot of Alliance Defending Freedom, that's akin to participation.

"We have doctors who not only don't want to participate in abortion, but don't want to refer people for that procedure."

He says no doctor should be forced to be an accomplice to something that violates his conscience.

The danger here is that people are starting to say, 'well you can have freedom of religion, you can abide by your conscience ... as long as it doesn't make me uncomfortable, or might make something a little inconvenient for me'," said Theriot.

Theriot filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, seeking to get the law tossed.

Advocates say the law ensures patients will receive all medically necessary information.