Illinois Governor Signs Controversial Bill Targeting Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made a controversial move on Thursday by signing SB 1909, a bill that takes aim at pro-life pregnancy centers, claiming they have been employing “deceptive practices” to dissuade women from choosing abortion for their unborn babies.

According to the bill, residents of Illinois have allegedly been “misled” by crisis pregnancy centers, and the state aims to protect individuals’ ability to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. 

It gives the Illinois Attorney General’s Office the power to determine what constitutes deception or the “omission of material fact,” with centers facing potential fines of up to $50,000 for violating the law.

Defending the bill, Pritzker spoke of the importance of accurate and evidence-based healthcare for women facing critical decisions.

“Women need access to comprehensive, fact-based healthcare when making critical decisions about their own health—not manipulation or misinformation from politically motivated, non-medical actors,” he stated.

The bill has garnered strong opposition from conservative circles. Eric Scheidler, the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, criticized the governor’s decision, arguing that the legislation is an attempt to limit options for pregnant women. 

“If you’re a poor woman in Illinois facing an untimely pregnancy, J.B. Pritzker and the Democrats want you to have only one option: abortion. That’s what SB 1909 is all about: protecting abortionists’ profits while depriving women of the help they’re seeking from pro-life pregnancy centers,” Scheidler said.

The controversy surrounding the bill did not end with its signing. Right after Governor Pritzker put his signature on the abortion-related legislation, Thomas More Society attorneys took action by filing a federal lawsuit against Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several pro-life organizations, including the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Women’s Pregnancy Services, Relevant Pregnancy Options Center, Pro-Life Action League and Rockford Family Initiative.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the enforcement of SB 1909, arguing that it infringes upon pro-life organizations’ free speech rights. Peter Breen, the executive vice president and head of litigation at Thomas More Society, condemned the bill as a “blatant attempt to chill and silence pro-life speech.”

While the new law is meant to go into effect immediately, enforcement will likely be held up through the legal process.