Separately, Pritzker will be pushing for legislation to prevent some public employees, including police officers and teachers, from trying to skirt COVID-19 vaccine mandates by citing a state law that allows people to avoid certain health care services for moral or religious reasons.
The state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act was intended to allow health care workers, especially those at Roman Catholic hospitals, to deny the distribution of emergency contraceptives to patients seeking abortions.
In broad terms, the law applies to “any phase of patient care,” but whether the law indeed applies to vaccine mandates will be taken up at some point during two-week session.
Some courts have ruled in favor of employees who citied the right of conscience exemption. But the Pritzker administration said the law is being interpreted incorrectly by those resisting the vaccine requirements and is seeking to exempt masking and vaccine mandates from the statute.
The administration’s language would also exempt testing….
“Testing” is specifically included in the law’s definition of health care.
That’s the key here that too many in the media don’t appear to quite grasp. The unvaxed are claiming they shouldn’t be required to be regularly tested. It’s a wholly ridiculous argument.
* Capitol News Illinois…
The Health Care Right of Conscience Act defines conscience as “a sincerely held set of moral convictions arising from belief in and relation to God, or which, though not so derived, arises from a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by God among adherents to religious faiths.” On those lines, certain care can be refused.
The governor’s office has been promoting legislation that would narrow the allowable exemptions when it comes to COVID-19 requirements, although a spokesperson did not identify the exact language it was pursuing.
“The Health Care Right of Conscience Act was never intended to allow people to avoid public health guidance and jeopardize workplace safety during a global pandemic. The administration supports efforts to clarify the law, so it cannot be misinterpreted by fringe elements,” Pritzker spokesperson Emily Bittner said in a statement Monday.
Subscribers have the proposed language.
* Meanwhile, the SJ-R continues to run big splashy stories about a couple of Springfield teachers who are refusing to be tested regularly based on their “conscience”…
The resolutions, “notices to remedy,” were unanimously passed by the school board without discussion. They stated the teachers’ actions could “(warrant) discharge and dismissal.”
The two stood by each other and later embraced as the resolutions were read by assistant superintendent of human resources Gina McLaughlin-Schurman. […]
Koen and Keys have cited “personal liberties” as motives for defying the governor’s mandate. Neither said they were budging from their positions as they and several supporters, including fellow teachers, addressed the board in the public comment section.
“That they’ve taken (our livelihoods) from us over something that is completely illegal and completely irrational is unconscionable,” Keys said of the mandate.
If your conscience tells you not to be tested regularly for a debilitating and potentially fatal disease after refusing to take a safe vaccine, there’s something very, very wrong with your conscience. Making heroes out of these two without making that clear is beyond irresponsible.
* Center Square…
Elsewhere throughout the state, local officials seem to be negotiating mandates in good faith with local law enforcement unions, [Illinois Fraternal Order of Police President Chris Southwood] said. If not, he said there’s always the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act.
“It clearly states that it’s unlawful to discriminate because of a person’s conscientious refusal to receive health care service contrary to his or her conscience,” he said. “We clearly feel we can fall back on that when we need to when it comes to these vaccine mandates and how they are implemented.” […]
The FOP he said will be lobbying against any possible changes to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act, a decades-old law he says gives broad protections to people refusing medical treatments that go against their beliefs.
“We’ll let General Assembly members know right up front that if you vote for changes to this act, we’re going to make sure your constituents are aware that you voted for changes to that act,” he said.
I’m fairly certain that the majority of Illinoisans will find it ridiculous for the unvaxed to use a “conscience” excuse to opt out of regular COVID testing.