Pregnancy centers should be able to operate without government interference.

Pro-life supporters gather in front of the Supreme Court in this 2014 file photo. (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA)

What does it mean, as a medical provider, to participate in a procedure that you find morally objectionable? This is the question at the heart of a federal lawsuit filed in September against the State of Illinois by three local pregnancy centers. In July, Illinois passed a law that requires doctors, hospitals and pregnancy centers to refer patients who ask about abortion to local providers if they do not provide the service themselves. The law was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican.  

Critics of the amendment claim it was directed specifically at pregnancy centers that work to offer pro-life options for young mothers. In a federal lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ attorney argues that the new law violates First Amendment free speech rights as well as the right to freely exercise religion. “The government shouldn’t be putting messages in people’s mouths,” said Noel Sterett, the attorney who filed the suit. “It’s quite easy to find that [abortion] information,” he added. “Go ahead and Google it. We don’t have to violate others’ conscience in order to make that happen.”

Advertisement

Pregnancy centers have become a target of pro-choice groups who believe these organizations mislead women by not providing them with their full range of options. But these centers are usually independent and do not take state money. A referral may seem harmless to some, but to pro-life advocates who are passionate about supporting young mothers, it strikes at the very heart of their mission. These centers should be free to go about their work without government interference. Government attention would be more fruitfully directed toward supporting young mothers who need child care and other crucial assistance after a child is born.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
William Rydberg
1 year 9 months ago
Awesome! Speaking as a Canadian.. It's really so amazing sometimes to read articles of this nature no matter what side (or sides) one is coming from, positively amazing! You see, we have a single payer Government Medicare System that was put in place more than fifty years ago and public opinion largely has not come to bear on policies such as this since decisions are taken by anonymous "deep state" bureaucrats out of the public eye.... We are at a point here in Canada, that there is no Federal laws that I am aware of that limits Abortion in any way. In fact, the Subject isn't on the Agenda for discussion of any mainstream Political Party. One wonder's why America Magazine does not mention this fact. Since I understand that America Magazine is supervised by the Society of Jesus President responsible for CANADA and the United States. In my opinion, the silence on the subject is suggestive of a kind of Moral Stroke, rendering the Canadian "brain Lobe" of the Society of Jesus in North America effectively "dead". But keep on working "American Lobe"... in Christ, señor santo Ninio, have Mercy on us!
Lisa Weber
1 year 9 months ago
The government should not be putting messages in people's mouths. One fact about pregnancy that young women may not know is that it rouses high emotion in others. The emotions range from sweet nostalgia to jealousy to a desire to control. A pregnant woman should know that at the outset and make up her mind before she chooses a pregnancy center.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Often, we have a tendency to privilege emotional moments over the more intellectual ones in our spiritual life.
James Martin, S.J.August 20, 2018
Photo by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash
Most people just don’t know that their pondering about life, about what really matters, is called theology.
Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the world Monday condemning the "crime" of priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up and demanding accountability.
Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pa., speaks during a meeting in late January at the headquarters of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
“I think we need complete transparency if we’re going to get the trust of the people back,” said Erie Bishop Lawrence T. Persico.