Skip to main content
Supreme Court of the United States

Freedom of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals Upheld in IL, Trampled in CA

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
October 17, 2017

In a dazzling display of government overreach, the states of Illinois and California have demanded that pro-life healthcare professionals promote abortion – the very thing they have dedicated their careers to preventing.

Thankfully, an Illinois state court acknowledged this problem when it ruled that pro-life healthcare professionals and pregnancy centers in Illinois cannot be forced to refer for abortions or to tell pregnant women that abortion has “benefits” and is a “treatment option” for pregnancy.

Unfortunately, healthcare professionals in California were denied the same freedom, when a federal court refused to rehear the case after ruling to uphold a California law last year. The government in California punishes pro-life medical centers with fines if they do not post a disclosure saying that California provides free or low-cost abortion and contraception services.

For our clients, being forced to promote abortion is absolutely unthinkable.

From their pro-life point of view, our clients are looking at two patients when a pregnant woman comes into their office – the mother and her child. And an abortion referral completely disregards the life of their second patient, the child. That’s completely contrary to the oath they take to “do no harm.”

Not to mention that promoting abortion as a “benefit” and a “treatment option” for pregnancy goes against the very mission of a pro-life pregnancy center, dedicated to protecting life.

Pregnancy is not a disease. And as far as “benefits” go, abortion offers nothing to the mother and much less to her unborn child.

The truth is, abortion facilities have received health citations for using expired abortion pills and using unsanitary sponges to clean their instruments. Women also face the physical and psychological harms that accompany abortion. As for the baby, there is no way around the fact that an abortion ends his or her life.

Those don’t sound like benefits to me.

What is truly beneficial to a healthy and thriving society is protecting the freedom of healthcare professionals to practice consistent with their convictions. This, in turn, benefits the patients who wish to choose a medical professional who shares their guiding values.

Thankfully, the court upheld these constitutional freedoms in Illinois. And ADF will continue to fight for the right of healthcare professionals and organizations in California to practice medicine consistent with their beliefs.


Pro-Life Healthcare Professionals Shouldn’t Be Forced into Abortion Advocacy by the State


Alliance Defending Freedom has prepared a legal manual to outline the legal landscape for healthcare freedom of conscience. Download this FREE resource to learn more about the freedoms of medical professionals. If you or someone you know ever runs into a situation at work where rights of conscience are removed, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Get My Free Resource

Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

Why One College Is Going Toe-to-Toe with the Biden Administration

When the Biden administration reinterpreted “sex” in federal law to mean “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” the implications were far-reaching...and alarming.

Sanctity of Life
This New Bill Could Mandate Unrestricted Access to Abortion

While claiming to protect women’s health, this legislation fails to acknowledge the physical and mental toll abortion has on women—to say nothing of the unborn female lives being aborted.

Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court Agrees to Hear One of the Biggest Abortion Cases Since Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case involving a Mississippi law to decide whether states can pass laws that protect life from abortion before an unborn baby is viable.