Alton, IL

Opposition Mounting Against "Right of Conscience" Act

Story by WBGZ Radio
Anti-abortion groups are marshaling opposition to a bill which would amend the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act.  The bill to amend the law would require medical providers to provide information and referrals on treatment options they don’t provide based on personal beliefs, like abortion. State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) labels the bill as activism disguised as legislation.  “This is simply an intrusion on people of faith, people of conviction, and the Right of Conscience (Act), no one’s told me how it’s not working,” Sandack said.
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Mindy Swank has a different opinion. When complications arose when Swank was expecting her second child, she went to a Catholic hospital. While she was told delivering her baby might endanger her life, the hospital wouldn’t perform an abortion, or tell Swank of any other provider which could help her.
“I was told to monitor my bleeding and temperature, and come back if I bled more, or if I had my fever,” Swank said. “No one offered to help us find somewhere else to go that was not constrained by these restrictions. No one talked to us about other options, other than waiting to get sick enough for them to help us.”
Supporters of the bill say it wouldn’t require Catholic hospitals to publicly post locations of abortion providers, but anti-abortion doctors, nurses, and hospitals would have to hand over information about those procedures and refer patients to medical facilities which won’t have those same objections. Dr. Mary Keen, president of Chicago guild of the Catholic Medical Association, says that would force her to violate her personal beliefs.
“I cannot in good conscience refer women to an abortion clinic any more than I could recommend a hit man,” Keen said.
The bill has already passed the Illinois Senate. 
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