Lawsuit over Forced Abortion Insurance Coverage in Radical Illinois Law

A mother and her baby march during a protest on the steps of Parliment House on July 28, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. The Labour government has attempted to decriminalise abortion, a move which may give medical professionals in Victoria the right not to perform abortions. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Robert Cianflone/Getty

A Baptist church association and two business owners filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state of Illinois, charging it with religious liberty violations related to a radical law that forces health insurance policies to provide coverage for abortions.

The lawsuit, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court by the Thomas More Society, charges that Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and the state’s Department of Insurance have violated the plaintiffs’ rights under both the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

“Radical partisans have forced employers of faith in Illinois into a terrible choice: either pay for the intentional termination of unborn children, or leave your employees’ families and your own without health insurance,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel.

Under Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act (RHA), every health insurance plan in the state that provides pregnancy benefits must also provide abortion coverage. Even private insurers and churches are required to cover abortions, with no exemptions.

The law, which repealed the state’s ban on partial-birth abortion, was sponsored by Democrat State Rep. Kelly Cassidy last year.

“RHA codifies our existing practices and, and this is critical, treats abortion care just like any other health care, because it is,” she said, reported ABC7.

Abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood celebrated what many described as the most radical pro-abortion legislation in the nation:

“This law is the most extreme expansion of abortion on demand anywhere in the country, even worse than the one enacted by New York earlier this year,” said Jill Stanek, national campaign chair of the Susan B. Anthony List, when the bill passed the legislature.

Stanek, an Illinois native and a former nurse, witnessed babies being born alive after abortions and left to die in Chicago.

“It allows abortion throughout pregnancy, up to the moment of birth, for any reason,” she said, adding:

It allows abortions by a non-doctor in a facility that’s not inspected and doesn’t have to report injuries. It strips away conscience protections for pro-life health care workers and forces all health insurance policies to cover abortions, including religious organizations. It even goes so far as to repeal Illinois’ ban on barbaric partial-birth abortions and eliminates protections for babies born alive during failed abortions. It is sweeping and barbaric.

“The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly condemned this sort of government coercion against people of faith, including in the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. decision,” Breen explained regarding the lawsuit. “Illinois law protects the sincerely held beliefs of our state’s nonprofits and businesses, but our state’s politicians and bureaucrats have sat silent in response to the conscientious objections of people of faith to paying for elective abortions.”

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