An Update on Illinois’ Version of FOCA

I wrote the fiolllowing Big B File back on March 4, 2009:

            The Big B Files wrote about the Federal Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) recently.   Illinois’ Version of the bill is currently going through the Illinois General Assembly.  The Illinois Reproductive Health and Access Act, the Illinois version of the Federal Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) (HB 2354).  Illinois Representatives Barbara Flynn CurrieRosemary MulliganNaomi D. JakobssonElizabeth CoulsonSara Feigenholtz, Julie Hamos, Elaine Nekritz, Karen May, Lou Lang, Karen A. Yarbrough, Greg Harris, David E. Miller, Annazette Collins, Elizabeth Hernandez, Mike Boland, Cynthia Soto, John A. Fritchey, Harry Osterman, Maria Antonia Berrios, Kathleen A. Ryg, Constance A. Howard, Luis Arroyo, William D. Burns, Susana A Mendoza, Deborah Mell, Arthur L. Turner and Mark H. Beaubien Jr. have sponsored this legislation and have expressed their eagerness to pass it. 

            It is not Currently known whether Governor Pat Quinn will sign or Veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk.  You can click here to view the version of the letter that you can use for Pro-Life Members of the Illinois General Assembly or you can click here to view the version of the letter that you can use for Pro-Choice Members of the Illinois General Assembly.

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The Bill  . . . the Illinois Reproductive Health and Access Act . . . passed out of the Human Services Committee by a 5 to 2 voice vote on March 13th, and is awaiting a vote by the full Illinois House.   The following  groups are  members of a group formed to try to defeat FOCA in Illinois (courtesy of – the Internet arm of the Coalition To Defeat HB2354:

Coalition Members


You can click here to see all the Big B Files that deal with the Freedom of Choice Act and the Federal, State and Local levels.  there is still no indicatio n whether Governor Pat Quinn will sigh the Illinois Reproductive Health and Access Act  or not at this point . . .stau tuned.  meanwhile, William Davis, Al Riley, Monique D. Davis, Esther Golar, Deborah L. Graham, Jack D. Franks and Kenneth Dunkin have all added their names as cosponsers of the bill while  Rep. Edward J. Acevedo, Rep. Daniel J. Burke, Rep. Robert Rita and Rep. LaShawn K. Ford hadtheir names removed as cosponsors of this bill.

      Bishop George Lucas of Springfield, IL Diocese wrote the following letter in the Catholic Times and to All Parishes in the Diocese of Springfield, IL:

Passage of HB 2354 would endanger right of conscience

Print E-mail
Written by Bishop Lucas   
Dear Friends in Christ,I write to you about a serious threat to our freedom to practice our Catholic faith in the state of Illinois.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, IL USA
Bishop George Lucas

 A bill has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly (HB 2354, the Reproductive Health and Access Act) that would remove the right to conscientious objection to abortion and related procedures for all health care workers. For 30 years we have been told by the courts and by legislators that abortion is a rare but necessary tragedy and that abortion providers should not face legal punishment. Now some are proposing that abortion is a human right, and worse, that those who would try to qualify it in any way or who will not provide it should be punished under law.

This proposed law will drive Catholic doctors and nurses from health care and will make it impossible for Catholic hospitals to continue to be places where life is always respected, where no one is deliberately killed. In our country, we recognize conscientious objection to war, even though defending one’s country is a noble and moral act. We recognize the conscientious objection of those doctors who will not cooperate in administering the death penalty, even for terrible crimes. Some Illinois legislators want to take away conscientious objection to abortion.

The enemies of human life and religious freedom in Illinois are well funded. Pressure on legislators is great and is increasing. I ask you to contact your representative this week to express your dismay that the Illinois legislature, elected democratically, would debate a bill that removes freedom of conscientious decision-making for health care workers as a condition of their employment. Surely people of good will can agree that the State should not come between a health care worker and God.

Unfortunately we have had to live with the fact that our laws no longer protect unborn human life. We cannot live with the prospect that our laws will no longer protect conscience. In 1844, Abraham Lincoln broke with his own party, the often anti-Catholic Whigs, and proposed: “Resolved, that the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition.” Illinois HB 2354 betrays the legacy of Lincoln in his home state.

Catholics and all people of good will should work to ensure its defeat. I also ask you to thank those legislators who are courageously opposing HB 2354 and to pray for those who are supporting it. To contact your legislator, please go to, or call (312) 368-1066.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend George J. Lucas

Bishop of Springfield in Illinois


If the bill passes in IL, the Far-Left will be emboldened like never before to get FOCA passed nationally.


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