SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Senate approves measure to crack down on ‘crisis pregnancy centers’

By ANDREW ADAMS  
& NIKA SCHOONOVER   
Capitol News Illinois 
news@capitolnewsillinois.com 

SPRINGFIELD – A rush of legislation passed before a Friday deadline in the Senate included proposals aimed at protecting those seeking reproductive health care in Illinois.  

The first of these proposals, Senate Bill 1909, would give the state’s attorney general explicit authority to crack down on “limited services pregnancy centers,” which are also known as crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs.  

The bill, which was pushed by the attorney general’s office, bars CPCs from engaging in “unfair methods of competition” or “deceptive acts or practices.”  

The proposal passed on a partisan 36-19 vote after heated debate.  

Crisis pregnancy centers are a type of facility that offer services to expectant parents which may include counseling, aid such as free diapers or limited medical services such as ultrasounds. They are often non-profits associated with national or local groups that oppose abortion.  

CPCs are the subject of ongoing national debate because they sometimes divert women seeking abortions from receiving them.   

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that state funds in general should not be used to support these organizations. It also recommended states should strengthen consumer protection laws against false or misleading advertising to hold the industry’s more nefarious actors accountable. 

“Patients report being misled into going to crisis pregnancy centers – sometimes even receiving exams and ultrasounds – thinking they were visiting another clinic that offers the full range of reproductive care. This is an extreme violation of trust and patient privacy that should not occur in our state,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a news release earlier this week. 

The Crisis Pregnancy Center Map, a project of professors Andrea Swartzendruber and Danielle Lambert of the University of Georgia’s Department of Public Health, identifies 97 CPCs in Illinois. The Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights focused research group, found that in 2017 there were 40 abortion providers in Illinois.  

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, said it clarifies existing powers of the office of the attorney general, which already has authority to prosecute consumer fraud. Opponents criticized the bill on that front, saying it gave the attorney general too much authority.  

“We’re going to have the same entity making the rules, deciding what the fines are, and then collecting those into their own coffers,” said Sen. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro. “I don’t know any other circumstances that we do that in.”  

Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, suggested the measure could be used to prevent volunteers at CPCs from sharing their religious beliefs on abortion.  

“And this overreach just goes to the point that if you don’t believe the way the majority party believes in this state you’re wrong and we’re going to go after you,” she said.  

Villanueva said the bill is not intended to punish providers of obstetrical or gynecological care “simply because they do not perform abortions.”  

“Health care providers will not be subject to enforcement under this bill, as long as they do not employ fraud, deception and misleading practices to interfere with or prevent another from accessing comprehensive reproductive health care,” she said.  

The bill has drawn criticism from outside the legislature as well. 

At an anti-abortion rally in front of the Capitol last week, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese encouraged protestors to continue to fight against abortion measures in the state.  

“Every year, over 10,000 out-of-state residents now come to Illinois for abortion, often at taxpayer expense. And that number has been increasing dramatically since June of 2022, when Dobbs was decided,” said Paprocki said. “In states such as ours, we cannot relax our pro-life efforts now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.”  

Others have already promised to fight the bill in court.  

“This bill is flagrantly unconstitutional, and if it becomes law, we will immediately file suit to protect pro-life organizations’ right to free speech,” Peter Breen, the head of litigation for the Thomas More Society, said in a statement Friday morning. 

Illinois has passed several laws protecting abortions in recent years, including making it a right under state statute. They’ve all faced similar Republican opposition as the measures that passed with only Democratic support this week.  

Another of those measures was Senate Bill 1344, which would ensure that insurance providers cover medication abortion, hormonal therapy and HIV medication. It passed the chamber Friday on partisan lines.  

The bill would also exempt reports from the Abortion Care Clinical Training program from being subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The program, established last year, gives grants to fund abortion training programs at community-based provider sites.  

Villanueva sponsored that bill as well, noting the exemption clarifies existing law and keeps program participants safe.  

“We already know that reproductive rights providers have been under attack, have been harassed have been abused, and in some cases murdered,” Villanueva said. “So when we strive to clarify laws in the state of Illinois in order to make sure that people are not put under duress in a situation or harassed…We’re trying to protect people which was the original intent of the original bill.” 

Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said the governor’s office already has administrative rulemaking authority to “exempt any sort of information that could pose … a threat of any sort to someone.”  

“The reality is, we already have the authority on that point,” Curran said. “It’s up to the governor to act. The governor, for three months, has not acted on this point.” 

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 1907, which would require state colleges and universities to provide “wellness kiosks.” These would be vending machines to provide wellness products with the explicit requirement that emergency contraception be among the items offered. This is also sometimes known as the morning after pill or Plan B.  

The bill, also sponsored by Villanueva, passed 38-19 on Thursday. Republicans criticized it, with Tracy calling it “frivolous.”  

All three measures head to the House for further consideration.  

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Mary Stanek

Looks like March may go out like a lion

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796. . March comes in like a lamb – it goes out like a lion! A sneak peek at the weather forecast for the next 10 days does show some mild days. So, we welcome…

Kathy Headley

Weather cooperated for Marine’s return

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . After the surprising snow coming down like a blizzard for a while last Friday night, I was especially glad to see the sun Saturday morning, for Patrick Downs (St. Rita High School class of…

Peggy Zabicki

Slam the brakes on reckless drivers

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . The most popular topic of conversation in our neighborhood lately is the problem of speeding drivers. There are car accidents every single day due to drivers who break the law. I hope the city will add even more…

Hon. Koula Fornier

Fournier resigns from TTO to become judge

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Lyons Township Trustees of Schools is accepting applications for a vacancy on their board, after Trustee Koula A. Fournier resigned earlier this month after being sworn-in as a Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. Fournier was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the Maloney vacancy of…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Hoops Wrap | Curie, Rice and Marist among area regional champs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The original March Madness got underway last week across Illinois, and several area teams were crowned regional champions. Teams still alive in Class 4A are Marist and Curie, and in Class 3A are Brother Rice, De La Salle, Evergreen Park and Mount Carmel.   CLASS 4A Marist (29-4) cruised…

Evergreen Park senior Tre Dowdell crosses over a Hillcrest defender during the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional championship game on Feb. 23. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball Class 3A Playoffs | Evergreen Park tops Hillcrest for first regional title since 1974

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Some Evergreen Park players have deep roots in the community, but it was a newcomer that carried the Mustangs to a monumental win. Senior guard Tre Dowdell put up a game-high 30 points and Mustangs rolled to a 74-60 win over Hillcrest in the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional…

SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview could be the site for Northwestern football games in 2024. Photo by Jeff Vorva

College Football | Northwestern football may play at SeatGeek

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent It appears that Chicago’s Big Ten team will be Bridgeview’s Big Ten team for at least one day. Maybe more. Northwestern has released its 2024 football schedule, but where the Wildcats will play their seven home games is unknown. Their home stadium, Ryan Field in Evanston, is undergoing a…

Nazareth senior Amalia Dray fight through a Kenwood defender during the Roadrunners’ 50-37 win in the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional title game. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Girls Basketball | Nazareth tops Homewood-Flossmoor, heads to Illinois Final Four for fifth time in past six seasons

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Nazareth head coach Ed Stritzel has built his Roadrunners into a powerhouse program with a defense-first philosophy that is carrying the reigning Class 3A state champions through another deep postseason run. Four nights after Nazareth held Kenwood to a season-low 37 points in the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional…

Mount Carmel's wrestling team celebrates a Class 3A championship. Photo courtesy of Mount Carmel High School

Postseason Roundup | Mount Carmel wrestling wins fifth state title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent During the regular season, only one wrestling team from Illinois beat Mount Carmel in a dual meet. Joliet Catholic got the better of the Caravan with a 38-27 victory on Jan. 18. That came two days after Mount Carmel lost to Crown Point (Indiana). The Caravan will be unable…

St. Laurence's Kathleen Martin gets off a shot against Hinsdale South in the Class 3A St. Ignatius Sectional on Feb. 22 in Chicago. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup | St. Laurence girls hoops has benchmark season

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The St. Laurence girls basketball team’s historic season came to a close with a 42-29 loss to Hinsdale South at the Class 3A St. Ignatius Sectional on Feb. 22, but the Vikings hit some milestone’s in former Marist and Saint Xavier star Claire Austin’s first year as coach. The…

Neighbors

CRRNH_CheesiesLogo_022824

Cheesie’s coming to Garfield Ridge

Spread the love

Spread the love. Popular ‘pub & grub’ coming to Archer/Nashville .  By Tim Hadac A business strip in need of a shot of adrenaline is about get a bit of zing next month. Cheesie’s Pub & Grub, a well known favorite on the North Side, is bringing its casual dining fun to the vacant Lindy’s/Gertie’s…

Nancy Diaz, area coach of operations for Panda Express, cuts the ribbon at the new Oak Lawn restaurant on Feb. 15. Joining her for the ceremony were (far left) Oak Lawn Trustee Paul Mallo (3rd) and Mayor Terry Vorderer. Xin Qin, the regional director of operations for the new Panda Express, is at far right. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn welcomes second Panda Express restaurant

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle A large crowd of customers began lining up outside the new Panda Express in Oak Lawn the morning of Feb. 15 and were not disappointed when they entered the restaurant. A major draw to the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony was that the first 88 customers to enter the restaurant…

evergreen park logo

Evergreen Park officer arrests armed driver after traffic stop

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle What appeared to be a routine traffic stop resulted in the arrest of an armed man in Evergreen Park. At Monday’s Evergreen Park Village Board meeting, Police Chief Michael Saunders requested that Officer Adrian Ortiz receive a commendation for making an arrest of a suspect who may have been a…

Ruby, Palos Hills mascot, visits the local McDonald's. (Supplied photo)

Palos Hills to start posting job openings

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Nuha Abdessalam The Palos Hills Economic Development Department will start making job postings accessible for locals to scope out the job scene. Mayor Gerald Bennett and aldermen highlighted the city’s flourishing local business climate during the city council meeting on Feb. 15. Ald. Donna O’Connell said the city’s Economic Development Department will…

Oak Lawn Library patrons were able to talk to local authors at the library's second annual RomCon. (Photos by Kelly White)

Love is in the air at RomCon 2024

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Love made an appearance at the local library this past weekend. Back by popular demand again this year, the Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., Oak Lawn, held RomCon 2024, celebrating the romance genre on February 17. “RomCon is a time for fellow romance readers to get together to…

Richards High School students met after school on January 31 at the high school, 10601 Central Avenue in Oak Lawn, to make fleece comfort blankets for pediatric cancer patients at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital. (Supplied photos)

Richards students make blankets for kids with cancer

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Richards High School students brought warmth and love to those who need it most this winter season. Under the supervision of Richards Activities Facilitator, Deborah Swanson, 75 students met after school on January 31 at the high school, 10601 Central Avenue in Oak Lawn, to make fleece comfort blankets for…

Fernway students scoot with their new scooters on Feb. 14. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Fernway Park School receives kindness – and scooters

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Scooters. Dollars. Kindness. Those were the three themes of the day on Feb. 14 at Fernway Park Elementary School in Orland Park thanks to a group of high school athletes in the Buddy’s Helpers group. There were 102 students in first and second grade at the school who were greeted…

Joey’s Red Hots will open its seventh location on Monday at 9135 W. 159th St. in Orland Hills. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Comings & Goings: Joey’s Red Hots to open Monday in Orland Hills

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Co-owner Anthony Nardo is not one to miss an opportunity to expand the reach of the Joey’s Red Hots empire. The Orland Park-based chain of restaurants has set Monday, February 26, as the opening date for its newest Joey’s location, in Orland Hills. Nardo and his partner Nick Iozzo jumped…

Orland Park's Fawzy Hassan speaks to the Orland Park Village Board on Monday in front of a backdrop of posters of members of his family who served the United States in wartime. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

No ruckus this time between Orland board, protesters

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva More than 80 people crowded Orland Park’s Village Hall Monday night with many there to protest the village board’s decision not to draw up a resolution asking for a ceasefire in Gaza. Unlike a Feb. 5 meeting, in which there was yelling and chants and Mayor Keith Pekau having police…

Investigator Joel Frias holds the plaque that he just received from Police Chief Tim Denton (left) for being selected as "Officer of the Year." (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Worth approves new parking, traffic regulations

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Two ordinances were passed at the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night requiring changes for pedestrian crossings and vehicular traffic. Police Chief Tim Denton said one ordinance needed to be amended regarding pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It needed to be made clear that individuals should not be walking along main…