Illinois lawmakers passed a “reproductive rights” legislative package on May 10, further expanding the state’s permissive abortion laws.
Within the package of bills is Senate Bill 1909 a bill that, as Capitol News Illinois notes, makes pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) “subject to the same consumer fraud standards as car dealerships, retailers, and service-based businesses.” The bill passed with a vote of 70-40.
Per the measure, PRCs can be sued under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act if they engage in what is considered “deceptive acts or practices.” The attorney general’s office can choose to look into PRCs without any complaints filed, or individuals can sue for “deception.”
As Rep. Bill Hauter noted during the debate, any “aggrieved” party can sue a PRC — which means that an abortion facility could even choose to sue a neighboring PRC.
“So Planned Parenthood of Chicago can rain down complaints as an ‘aggrieved party’ on a pregnancy center in Peoria, Illinois,” he said. Hauter’s wife runs a PRC and he described his family as “heavily involved” in their mission.
Abortion advocates have long targeted PRCs because most of them do not refer for or recommend abortions. Instead, they offer pregnant women and families countless resources, including ultrasounds, STD testing, medical referrals, baby clothes, diapers, wipes, furniture, formula, food, and connections with state resources. A report published in 2022 by the Charlotte Lozier Institute revealed that these centers have saved over 800,000 lives in five years.
Many pro-abortion lawmakers used fear-based tactics to defend the bill.
“Some of the horror stories [women] had endured in terms like being trapped in rooms and again being forced to — when they had already made a determination on their own bodies — being forced to listen to other people critique them or yell at them,” said Senator Celina Villanueva, the bill’s sponsor.
“Back in 2010, I walked into one of these fake clinics,” Rep. Dagmara Avelar said during the bill’s debate.“When I was talking to the person in this clinic and I asked for my options, abortion was out of the question.”
In a statement, the Illinois Freedom Caucus reacted to the bill’s passage.
“Senate Bill 1909 is nothing more than a power grab to give the Attorney General carte blanche authority to target crisis pregnancy centers for any reason. Anyone – even people who have had no direct connection to a crisis pregnancy center – can lodge a complaint and essentially launch an investigation,” they said.
“This legislation is not about protecting anyone but the monsters in our state who celebrate the brutal murder of innocent children as a ‘right.’ This bill is not only a violation of the First Amendment rights of those involved (mostly volunteers) at crisis pregnancy centers, but it also is an overt persecution of people whose only crime is disagreeing with the abortion death cult. Senate Bill 1909 will be challenged in court. It will be overturned, and we will continue to speak out against the extreme positions of the pro-abortion advocates in our state.”
Lawmakers also passed Senate Bill 1344, which will require insurance coverage for abortion, and House Bill 3326, which will prohibit law enforcement from using automatic license plate readers to prosecute people who travel from out of state for abortions.
The Senate bills now head to the desk of Governor JB Pritzker for signature, while the House bill goes to the Senate for debate.
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