Health Care Conscientious Law Changes Will Head To Governor | Government-and-politics

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate joined the House on Thursday to approve an amendment to the right to conscience law in health care requested by the Governor and Attorney General, putting it on a signature of become law.

The HCRC Act currently prohibits discrimination against any person for their “conscientious refusal to receive, obtain, accept, perform, assist, advise, suggest, recommend, refer or to participate in any way whatsoever in any particular form of health service contrary to his conscience. . “

The bill passed Thursday would add language indicating that it is not a violation of the law for an employer to “take action or impose requirements … designed to prevent the contraction or transmission of COVID-19.”

Supporters believe the measure will clarify the intention of the legislature as a number of court cases continue in the system in which Illinoisians challenge COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirements, citing protections offered by the HCRC law. There is a need to fill a legal loophole that allows people to flout these mandates, they argued.

Critics of the bill, however, argued that the language is too broad and that the Health Care Right of Conscience Act was in fact intended to protect an individual’s right to make their own decisions by making their own decisions. health care.

It passed the Senate 31-24 just before 11 p.m. Thursday without Republican votes. As the bill did not obtain a three-fifths majority in both chambers, its date of entry into force is set for June 1, 2022, in accordance with a provision of the state constitution relating to adopted bills. after May 31.

Supporters, including the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Elgin, and Senate Speaker Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, have argued over the past two days that the measure does not impose the vaccination.

“Unlike widespread disinformation campaigns, this bill is not a vaccination mandate,” Gabel said Wednesday. “In fact, it doesn’t require anyone to do anything. As the bill itself says, it is simply a statement of existing law and should not be interpreted as new law.

Harmon argued Thursday evening that existing law should not be applicable to mitigation measures aimed at slowing a deadly pandemic. Those with health concerns or religious concerns regarding mandate compliance can still access federal exemptions, he said during the debate on the ground.


“The Health Care Right of Conscience Act was passed in 1977 and was intended, I think quite clearly, to protect doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other health professionals who, because of their own conscience, did not want to participate in some of the reproductive health services or prescriptions, ”he said.

“This law, written in a broad sense, is interpreted today and the litigation is essentially a” I choose not to follow these rules and to justify this I will cite the law of conscience law in health care “. I don’t think this is consistent with the original intention,” he added.

He compared the effort of using the law to not be tested to trying to avoid detection for impaired driving.

“Let’s say your voter is arrested on the pretext of drunk driving,” Harmon said during a committee discussion with Senator Jil Tracy, R-Quincy. “Could this voter tell the officer that he would refuse a breathalyzer test under the Health Care Right of Conscience Act?” Could they refuse a field sobriety test because a medical condition is being tested? This is the absurd conclusion we come to if you read it as at length as you suggest.

Tracy said she didn’t agree with the interpretation.

Jil tracy


“So I think repealing this law or amending it goes away from the basic premise for which it was designed, to allow the Americans, the Illinois to invoke something that they don’t have to do. and which they disagree with because of their moral conscience. ”she said.

More than 50,000 witness records have been filed against the bill on the General Assembly’s website. Lawmakers have reported receiving hundreds of calls to their offices against the change.

Senator Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said the HCRC law, when initially passed, “created a line that prevented the government from forcing its citizens to receive medical procedures and services that would go against their sincere beliefs “.

“Now the government is trying to erase that line,” she said. “Again, it’s our job here today to stand up for those who stand up for themselves.

Senator John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said the proposal “diminishes religious protections in the workplace”.

“Today, we are decreasing the protections in the workplace for a minor medical intervention,” he said. “My objection is not about vaccinations. I am vaccinated. … We are following this path, we do not know where it ends.

Harmon said in his closing speech that lawmakers are “trying to strike a balance” between freedom and public safety,

“You asked where we draw the line,” he said. “The line of my personal freedom ends at the start of your nose. … This law was never intended to prevent public health responses to a global pandemic. “

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