UNITED STATES NEWS

US judge blocks new Illinois law allowing state to penalize anti-abortion pregnancy centers

Aug 4, 2023, 12:05 PM

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked a new Illinois law that allows the state to penalize anti-abortion pregnancy centers if they use deception to interfere with patients seeking the procedure.

U.S. District Judge Iain Johnston said Thursday the new law “is painfully and blatantly a violation of the First Amendment.”

The law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week bans anti-abortion pregnancy centers, often referred to as “crisis pregnancy centers,” from using “misinformation, deceptive practices, or misrepresentation” to interfere with access to abortion services or emergency contraception. Violators faced fines of up to $50,000.

The bill was championed by Attorney General Kwame Raoul. The law allows the state Office of the Attorney General to investigate complaints against pregnancy centers using questionable tactics and strengthens the attorney general’s authority to prosecute incidences of consumer fraud in such cases.

Pritzker said he’s confident the law will ultimately will be upheld.

“I’m disappointed that the far-right is interfering with the ability for women to access safe medical care without deception or lies,” Pritzker said in a statement. “This law is constitutional and I am confident that the law will ultimately be found constitutional and we’ll continue to work alongside Attorney General Raoul to ensure Illinois patients are protected from misinformation.”

Johnston heard more than four hours of testimony from anti-abortion advocates during an emergency hearing Thursday afternoon. They said the law has threatened their rights to free speech and expression and their ability to distribute literature that identifies alternatives to abortion.

Kevin Rilott, director of the Rockford Family Initiative and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said before the law, as many as 100 people attended regular prayer vigils. After the law passed, Rilott said the number of prayer vigil attendees dropped to about 30.

“It’s going to stop us from offering mothers a choice,” Rilott said.

Attorney Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based not-for-profit law firm that represented the plaintiffs, said “it was very heartening to know that the judge recognized that our clients are facing a credible threat, that their speech is being chilled, and that’s really important.”

“No matter which side of the abortion issue you’re on, we don’t silence speech,” Breen added. “The judge made that point very clearly today.”

Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said she was “frustrated” by Johnston’s ruling.

“For decades, crisis pregnancy centers have targeted our patients using deceptive and false practices,” Welch said in a statement. “Often crisis pregnancy centers provide misleading and medically inaccurate information, sometimes deliberately misdiagnosing patients or misdating their pregnancies so people think they have more time to decide about abortion or that they are past the time when they can have an abortion.”

United States News

Hilton Crawford's Campaign Poster when he ran for Sheriff of Jefferson County in the 1976 Democrati...

Ben Kuebrich, KSL Podcasts

Former officer who kidnapped 12-year-old after tricking parents had red flags in police record

Episode six of Ransom: Position of Trust, dives into Hilton Crawford's past to see who he was and what led him to kidnap Mckay Everett.

35 minutes ago

Associated Press

Oklahoma Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit of last Tulsa Race Massacre survivors seeking reparations

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit of the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, dampening the hope of advocates for racial justice that the government would make amends for one of the worst single acts of violence against Black people in U.S. history. The nine-member […]

48 minutes ago

Associated Press

High school president writes notes thanking fellow seniors — 180 of them

Emily Post would be proud. A high school class president in Massachusetts who gave a commencement speech wanted to recognize all of his fellow graduates. So he wrote them personal thank-you notes presented at the ceremony — 180 to be exact. “I wish I could’ve acknowledged you all, but there was simply not enough time,” […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

AP-NORC poll: About half of US adults approve of Trump’s conviction, but views of him remain stable

NEW YORK (AP) — About half of U.S. adults approve of Donald Trump’s recent felony conviction, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey shows some potential vulnerabilities, along with some signs of resilience in his support, as Trump tries to become the first American with a felony […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County’s top judge has asked state regulators to review allegations that an attorney was handcuffed to a chair after a judge kicked him out of her courtroom. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans referred misconduct allegations against Judge Kathy Flanagan to the state Judicial Inquiry Board on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

One of several South Dakota baseball players charged in rape case pleads guilty to lesser felony

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — One of the several former players on an American Legion baseball team in South Dakota charged last year with rape has pleaded guilty to a lesser felony. The 19-year-old former Mitchell player pleaded guilty to one count of accessory to a felony, according to court documents cited by KELO-TV on Tuesday. […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

US judge blocks new Illinois law allowing state to penalize anti-abortion pregnancy centers