It's my great pleasure to address you for the first time as Executive Director of the Pregnancy Information Center (PIC). I am excited to join such dedicated staff ...
PIC and pregnancy centers across Illinois are celebrating today as we have just received word that a preliminary injunction has been granted us by a federal judge! In July of last year, Illinois State lawmakers passed “SB1564”, an amendment to the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act that forces healthcare providers to refer patients for abortion. The law went into effect on January 1st, and while our lawyers were working quickly to move lawsuits against the bill through the lower courts, PIC announced with much dismay, that we would be forced to pause medical services (such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and STD/STI testing) until an injunction could be granted. For the past 6 months, we have been working furiously as a staff to continue supporting our community and saving lives in the face of this setback.
As of today, we are excited to announce that beginning next week, we will begin offering life-saving medical services once again! We are so thankful for your prayers and support during this time. We know that the Lord is faithful, and will continue to provide for PIC as we fight against those who seek to cease or silence the value of life in our world. With over 350,000 abortions committed every year in the US, and over 27,000 of those occurring in our own state, we know the fight is not over.
You can read the full press release from Mauck & Baker below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Inquiries Contact
Mauck & Baker Attorney
Noel W. Sterett, Esq.
Pregnancy Centers Win Second Injunction against Illinois Abortion Referral Mandate
CHICAGO- Yesterday a Federal District Court granted the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) and several pro-life pregnancy centers a preliminary injunction against an Illinois law that forces pro-life healthcare professionals to make abortion referrals. The injunction prohibits the State from enforcing the law against healthcare facilities or physicians who have a conscience objection to performing abortions or making abortion referrals.
In 2016, Illinois amended its Healthcare Right of Conscience Act to require pro-life doctors and medical staff to provide referrals to abortion clinics and to speak of the "benefits" of abortion as a treatment option. Late last year, another group of pregnancy centers obtained an injunction in state court. In its opinion, the state court questioned as to why Illinois would require the very individuals who object to abortion services to become a source of information about them. In yesterday's order, the federal court wrote, "It is clear that the amended act targets the free speech rights of people who have a specific viewpoint." The federal court preliminary injunction broadly protects all "healthcare facilities, health care personnel, or physicians who object to providing information about health care providers who may offer abortion or who object to describing abortion as a beneficial treatment option."
Attorney Noel W. Sterett, who represents the Life Center, Inc. and is co-counseling on the case with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said, "The government has no business forcing pro-life doctors and pregnancy care centers in Illinois to operate as referral agents for the abortion industry. A law that targets medical professionals because of their pro-life views and right of conscience is unconstitutional and unethical."
Mauck & Baker LLC attorney Noel Sterett is one of more than 3,100 private attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom.
Mauck & Baker, LLC
One North LaSalle Street, Suite 600
Chicago, Illinois 60602
312-726-1243 ext. 480
UPDATE: PIC has been granted an injunction from a federal judge.
SB 1564 (NOW PUBLIC ACT 99-690)
Today we find ourselves sharing some very difficult news that will impact our community. If you have been following along with our updates on this bill, you’ll know that the Senate Bill was passed in June of 2015 and went into effect January 1, 2017. The bill amends the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act and mandates that, upon request, all healthcare providers within Illinois must provide patients with a written referral, or transportation, to an organization that provides abortions. It also states that we are required to share the “benefits” of an abortion with patients. Across our state, ethically-based medical providers are being forced with a terrible decision: Operate medically, and refer for abortion, operate illegally by continuing to practice without referring, or halt medical services (thereby operating legally, and not referring.)
WILL PIC REFER FOR ABORTIONS?
Simply put, no! As a Christian organization, we are called to protect life - not participate in destroying what God has created. We do not believe there are any benefits in taking the innocent life of a child.
Since this law went into effect, we have chosen to temporarily limit the services that we can ethically provide. Although we are able to continue providing education classes and baby supplies to current and new clients, we have chosen to pause intake of new medical clients during this time. For everyone here, this has been very disappointing, but we have chosen this course of action because we believe that it is the only way to protect both our integrity and our future as a center. God sees a much bigger picture and we must trust in his guidance and direction. We also have no doubt that our supporters will help us fight this unconstitutional law and will support and pray for us through this process.
SO WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We have been busy on our end praying, researching, and seeking legal counsel on how to approach this issue so that the benefits are long term. In December 2016, an injunction was granted for two other pregnancy medical centers in Illinois. Initially, we were informed that we would also be protected under that injunction, but found out later that the judge denied this. We immediately started the process of filing our own lawsuit, listing each individual center that wished to be protected. PIC has combined forces with 18 other Pregnancy Medical Centers and several pro-life doctors statewide to file a separate lawsuit against the State of Illinois for violating our constitutional right to perform our medical services according to our faith. (Read more about the PIC lawsuit HERE). Since the December injunction was won, we believe it has set a precedence and can confidently anticipate that our injunction will also be swiftly granted. When it is, we will then be protected under pre-SB 1564 law and will immediately begin providing all of our medical services without risk of penalty. We are not simply seeking something temporary, but are striving to repeal this law completely because we want to protect lives that are at stake now and in the future.
It's worth noting that similar laws are currently being fought all around the US. Within the past few weeks three more states (AK, HI and CT) have also been hit with a similar law. Our life-partners in other states are closely watching and praying that Illinois lawyers will prevail in our case and set a precedent across the nation.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We wish that we could say that we have a perfect solution, but at this moment we do not. This decision breaks our hearts and we know that each day we do not practice it puts lives on the line. We also hold in balance the fact that if we do not stand in integrity, we risk the entire future of our mission. As we fight in a war for the life of the innocent, some battles are particularly difficult, but we can see a vision that is more powerful than this temporary setback. Faith is defined by A.W. Tozer as the “gaze of the soul upon a saving God.” We will continue to place our faith firmly with our God who is mighty, powerful, and near. Here is how YOU can help:
PRAY and then PRAY again! (Pray for the judges, lawyers, pro-life centers & doctors in Illinois, and most importantly pray for pregnancies at risk.)
Contact your State and House Representatives! Send them a non-threatening email letting them know you are praying for them and encourage them to oppose bills like SB 1564 and HB 40. (Click HERE to find your representatives)
Financially support PIC. While we are busy fighting for our rights, we are still helping pregnant moms and dads with parenting classes and material needs. In addition to our regular responsibilities, we are doing extra work behind the scenes to stay informed and prepare for this pending lawsuit. We need your support now, more than ever!
We will continue to update you as we learn new details on our lawsuit, so be on the lookout for further communication from us!
As Christians, we walk down a path where pain surrounds us. Following Christ isn’t easy, isn’t pretty, and isn’t quiet. Sometimes, we find ourselves caught up in our life, jobs, families, or church, and we begin to experience frustration because we see this need before us, yet feel unable to meet it. We want to do more. We want to serve, but when it comes down to it, a million things get in the way.
Sometimes, we resign ourselves to failure before we even begin. The things that ignite our hearts never make it past our brains. The things that awake the deepest passions within us just don’t escape the roadblocks.
At pic, we struggle with those same feelings. We face a need that is so much bigger than ourselves. We fight for life as the world fights to end it. The hope of our savior is already within our hearts, so we ache as we see women struggling through desperation and fear. We know that christ is the solution, but merely knowing is not enough.
We want this passion to burn within those who also claim the name of Jesus. Our hope is that by sharing what God Is doing here at PIC, you will be encouraged, and inspired to join us in bringing real life to our community.
We’re calling this PICLIFE, and we’ll be sending one out every few months! Our hope is that the stories, information, and resources within will inspire and encourage you as we fight for LIFE together.
Evan Wise is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at PIC. He is recently married, and finds writing this information about himself to be quite embarrassing.
Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you are enjoying the new PIC LIFE issue! This “magazine style” format is designed for you to proudly display on your coffee table or share with a friend. It is a great way to stay up-to-date on the incredible things God is doing through our Pro-Life efforts. We hope that through these articles you are informed and encouraged about your partnership with PIC and that your passion for protecting life in the womb deepens as we fight for life together.
Doesn’t it seem like the department stores are creeping further and further into Fall as they jockey for our attention during the Christmas season? Displaying all the beautiful decorations, picking out the perfect gifts, and eating the delicious food are all wonderful additions to the Christmas celebration, but what about after December 25th? That gadget dad received is shoved into a drawer, all the decorations go back into storage, and we all start thinking about how we can lose a few pounds!
But what if the gift you gave continued to flourish into 2017 and beyond? What if this year you chose to give a gift that literally gives life to a child who hasn't even been born yet? Or a mom discovers that you are there to support her decision to choose life for her baby during a difficult time?
With your support, we have provided our free, life-saving services to more than 200 women this year! On a weekly base we are averaging 25 women in our parenting classes and through your prayers and support, more than 50 babies were given a chance to live!
Would you consider adding PIC to your Christmas wish-list this year? As you can see, we have fallen behind on our financial support. Although we are confident that together we can finish the year strong, it will take all of us. Can you think of anything better than saving the life of a child in the womb? How about knowing that your financial support made it happen? Your gift of any amount will help us meet our budget needs.
At PIC, you and I have been given a wonderful opportunity to support an organization that promotes life and introduces people to The Messiah, not just during Christmas, but throughout the whole year! Thank you for being part of the PIC community and standing with us in our fight for life.
Executive Director, & PIC Staff
Is a bill passed by Illinois congress and signed into law by Governor Rauner on July 29th of this year. The bill mandates that all “health care facilities” within the state will be required to present abortion as a “legal treatment option” to their patients. If a patient requests abortion, a provider will be required to refer the patient to a facility that performs abortions, transfer the patient to a facility that performs abortions, or provide the patient with a list of other health care providers who perform abortions.
Several Pregnancy Clinics in Illinois have filed a lawsuit against the Governor. The bill is scheduled to take effect on January 1st of 2017, so we are praying that the courts grant an injunction, which would push the starting date back until the courts can decide it’s legality. We ask that you pray for favor in the courts.
Is a bill introduced by State Representative Sara Feignholtz that will reverse the current law that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion under medicaid. In 1977 before the protective bill was passed, over 12,700 abortions were paid for under Public Aid’s Medicaid program using taxpayer dollars. The bill will also remove the requirement for a physician’s statement stating that the abortion was required to save the life of the mother.
We ask that you contact your state representative and ask them to vote against this bill.