Current Illinois law allows doctors, nurses and other health care providers to deny care and even information to their patients if the providers feels doing so goes against their personal religious beliefs. The State Journal-Register spoke with Angela Valavanis, who has been affected by this law when she was denied a tubal ligation during a c-section operation because she was at a Catholic hospital. The ACLU of Illinois is advocating for the passage of a bill - Senate Bill 1564 - currently before the Illinois House that would amend the law so that health care providers must make sure their patients are given full information about their options. The State Journal-Register also spoke with ACLU of Illinois Executive Director Colleen Connell:
Patients and their families often are oblivious when it comes to the ways faith-based guidelines can influence health care, said Colleen Connell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
“We, as patients, don’t know what we don’t know,” she said. “The time to tell someone … is before you’re in an emergency situation."
Experiences such as those recounted by Valavanis and others over the years prompted the ACLU and others to seek a legislative solution, Connell said.