The Illinois House of Representatives today approved Senate Bill 1564 on a vote of 61 to 54. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Robyn Gabel, amends the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act to ensure that patients get all the information they need in order to make the best decisions about their health care treatment. The bill's language reflects a compromise between the ACLU, the Catholic Conference, the Catholic Health Care Association and the Illinois State Medical Society. The following can be attributed to Lorie Chaiten, Director of the ACLU of Illinois Reproductive Rights Project:

If the Senate concurs, Governor Bruce Rauner now has an opportunity to take an important step to protect patients in Illinois. Senate Bill 1564, now on its way to the Governor, carefully balances the needs of patients to get complete information about their medical condition with the ability of health care providers to refuse health care services to which they have a religious or conscience objection. In the course of the debate around this legislation, we have seen a campaign of false claims hurled by a handful of opponents. The debate in the House helped pierce these claims, making clear that the bill does not force anyone to participate in or refer for abortion or any other care.

Rather, Senate Bill 1564 ensures that each patient in Illinois now can be assured that they will have complete information, so that they can make the best medical decision for themselves and their families. These medical decisions, we expect, will be guided by a patient¹s individual condition and his or her personal beliefs. Senate Bill 1564 means that when Illinois patients go into an exam room, they do not need to worry that they are being denied medical information based on their health care provider¹s religious beliefs. In short, this bill protects patients when health care providers exercise religious refusals.

We thank Representative Robyn Gabel for her leadership in the House and urge Governor Rauner to sign this bill into law as soon as possible.