On Wednesday of last week, a federal court issued an injunction that halts enforcement of an Illinois law which forces pregnancy care centers and doctors to promote abortion.
What does that mean, exactly?
First, the background. Per Alliance Defending Freedom:
[The law] forces pregnancy care centers, medical facilities, and physicians who conscientiously object to involvement in abortions to adopt policies that provide women who ask for abortions with a list of providers “they reasonably believe may offer” them. Federal law prohibits the government from placing burdens on religious conscience without a compelling interest for doing so.
So, what does it mean that a federal court issued an injunction against the law? In short, it means the law will not be enforceable for the duration of the case. Pregnancy care centers and pro-life doctors in Illinois will be able to live according to the dictates of their consciences without fear of government punishment, for the time being.
ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves had this to say:
The government is out of line when it attempts to force Americans to communicate a message that is contrary to their most deeply held beliefs. In addition, the state shouldn’t be robbing women of the freedom to choose a pro-life doctor by mandating that pro-life physicians and entities make or arrange abortion referrals. The court was right to halt enforcement of this law while our lawsuit proceeds.
The case isn’t over, of course. This injunction only halts enforcement.
ADF has asked the Supreme Court to hear a similar case out of California.
The premise behind these laws—that the government can force organizations to promote a practice that is not only against their conscience, but often explicitly against their organizational mission—is absurd. Beyond that, the laws are unconstitutional. A government that tells you what you can’t say is bad enough, but one that can coerce speech is even worse.