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*** UPDATED x1 *** Changes to Health Care Right of Conscience Act surface in House

Monday, Oct 25, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here and here if you need it. Rep. Robyn Gabel’s House Amendment 2 to SB1169

The Health Care Right of Conscience Act is amended by adding Section 13.5 as follows:

Violations related to COVID-19 requirements. It is not a violation of this Act for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, entity, institution, or employer, to take any measures or impose any requirements, including, but not limited to, any measures or requirements that involve provision of services by a physician or health care personnel, intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations.

It is not a violation of this Act to enforce such measures or requirements, including by terminating employment or excluding individuals from a school, a place of employment, or public or private premises in response to noncompliance. This Section is a declaration of existing law and shall not be construed as a new enactment. Accordingly, this Section shall apply to all actions commenced or pending on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly. Nothing in this Section is intended to affect any right or remedy under federal law.

…Adding… The Catholic Conference of Illinois issued this today before the amendment surfaced. I’ve asked for further comment

There is an attempt during this Fall Veto Session in Springfield to amend the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act in order to remove the ability of someone to make a conscience objection to COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Illinois. The bishops of Illinois oppose any amendment to this important Act. A letter from the Illinois bishops has been sent to the Governor and legislative leaders on this; a copy of the letter has also been sent to all members of the Illinois General Assembly.

*** UPDATE *** A spokesperson for the Illinois Hospital Association tells me that his group is supporting the bill and “urging legislators to vote Yes.”


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 10:59 am:

    The ongoing refrain from a certain side of the isle has been that the legislature should come back to pass laws, instead of the governor taking executive action.

    Asked and answered.

    I look forward to the complainers continuing to complain.

  2. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    I get that the declaration of existing law part is needed to address pending actions, but longer term I guess I would like to see them be a little more forward-looking by having all declared pandemics or public health emergencies exempted and not just COVID-19.

  3. - Norseman - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    I don’t like it. If you’re going to clean up a horrible law that can be used to prevent communicable diseases, do it right. Focusing on COVID doesn’t prevent the loonies from attacking other vaccine mandates. Nor, will it prevent interference with measures to address future pandemics.

  4. - Norseman - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    Oops… prevent response efforts to mitigate communicable diseases …

  5. - Cindy - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:13 am:

    So “my body, my choice” is a total sham. Thank you Democrats for clarifying.

  6. - OneMan - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:17 am:

    == So “my body, my choice” is a total sham. Thank you Democrats for clarifying. ==

    Nothing in the law says you have to get something done. It just says you can’t use the law to get out of something.
    You don’t want to be subject to COVID testing, fine but there are consequences if you don’t.

    There is a big difference between a choice having a consequence and not being able to make that choice in the first place.

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:20 am:

    -So “my body, my choice” is a total sham. Thank you Democrats for clarifying.-

    Bit of a difference between civil repercussions for not getting vaccinated during a public health crisis, and say, jailing pregnant women… at least I can see one.

  8. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:42 am:

    From the bishops’ letter: “This Act is vital to the integrity of those serving in health care, and it should not be amended or altered to deal with the exigencies of the current tragic pandemic. Indeed, the Act has been a model for the nation as a bulwark against attempts to coerce health care providers and their employees to engage in practices that violate their sincerely
    held religious or moral beliefs.”

    They are missing the point. The problem is the act is being read well beyond its original intent to only apply to health care workers and is providing cover for random people to make up a “religious objection” because they feel like it, even when organized religions like the Catholic Church don’t officially recognize one.

  9. - Huh? - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:50 am:

    What Norseman said. The amendment should broadly cover all communicable diseases. The political impact of covid may go away. The next pandemic may be around the corner.

  10. - Norseman - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    Do the Illinois bishops want to join the GOP as pro-death and illness? This law can be changed without destroying the original intent - let the Act focus on non-communicable health issues. Abortion is not communicable. If the bishops want to fight the COVID fight they need to abandon the fiction of their being pro-life.

  11. - Annonin' - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:03 pm:

    MBMC is still working, but the effort to hijack it for the fake efforts to skip the vaccine and infect others with COVID is on the ropes
    Guessing Bishop Goalie and Bling have their mobile “religious ROC & Food Truck units rolling to SPI as we write.

  12. - Nick Name - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:03 pm:

    The Catholic Conference of Illinois is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. On the one hand, the bishops say, “Notwithstanding our own Church’s belief that the COVID-19 vaccine is both morally acceptable and an expression of love of neighbor.” On the other hand, they still want conscience exemptions.

    Nothing in Catholic teaching allows for religious exemption from getting a vaccine. On the contrary, Pope Francis himself has said that Catholic have a moral oblation to get the COVID vaccine. Pandering to anti-vaxxers is basically pandering to overgrown toddlers who have made a political decision, a culture war decision, not a decision based on conscience or health.

  13. - DissapointedVoter - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    Hard to see why the catholic church keeps losing members X.X

  14. - Nick Name - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    This Arkansas hospital has a better grasp of the issue than the Illinois bishops and the Illinois Catholic Conference:

  15. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:32 pm:

    -Public health crisis is over. It’s time to Move on.-

    The almost 1300 of our fellow Illinoisans in the hospital and the 183 who died last week will be very happy to hear that. /s

  16. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:33 pm:

    Religious leaders are in the conscience business. It is worth noting that the bishops have clearly stated that vaccine/testing is not a violation as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. They do respect the idea that others may find it objectionable …

    “ Notwithstanding our own Church’s belief that the COVID-19 vaccine is both morally acceptable and an expression of love of neighbor, we are called to respect the sincerely held religious or moral objection that some may have to the vaccine”

  17. - Norseman - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:35 pm:

    Looks like the GOP war on education has claimed another victim as we see from a commenter who lost the ability to read and listen to the news.

  18. - Henry Francis - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    I continue to be amazed that an organization that institutionalized the sexual abuse of children and went to great lengths to protect the abusers (instead of the abused), that such an organization continues to have a say in what is right or wrong in our society.

  19. - wildcat12 - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:39 pm:

    This is disappointing from the Catholic Conference of Illinois. The Catholic church has officially endorsed the vaccine and offers no religious exemption from it. These changes would not impact in any way the ability for someone to object to abortion or birth control services. Very, very disappointing.

  20. - PurpleDog - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 12:50 pm:


    Incorrect. Yes the church has endorsed it, but the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith, the official teaching arm of the Catholic Church, has flat out said “vaccines must be voluntary.” The Catholic Church is in fact offering religious exemptions.

  21. - Manchester - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:05 pm:

    I wish it covered pandemics/public health emergencies in general and not specifically related to Covid-19 but am glad to see this move forward even in current form. I wish the Catholic Church would butt out. As far as I’m concerned they lost any right to the moral high road when they ignored the sexual abuse of children.

  22. - Lurker - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:14 pm:

  23. - Asteroid of Caution - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:17 pm:

    If the Catholic Conference had done a better job writing the 1995 law, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

  24. - Who else - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:25 pm:

    Anyone who’s been in the building for any length of time knows the Healthcare Right of Conscience Act is about reproductive health. It’s about making sure doctors and pharmacists don’t have to perform medical procedures or provide medication that violates a sincerely held belief. I don’t agree with how broad it is, but that’s totally beside the point and irrelevant to the current discussion.

    The HCRCA not about protecting someone’s random decision that they don’t like workplace safety measures and it’s ludicrous to suggest that this very heavily debated Act has anything to do with that. Just reread the debates from over the years. Workplace safety measures are never contemplated. The proposed amendment clarifies that.

    We’re talking about schools, hospitals and other businesses across the state who have chosen to keep people safe by imposing these measures. Do those who oppose suggest that we just say oopsie doopsie, we could clarify the language to ensure legislative intent is maintained and keep you from getting sued for silly reasons with dangerous consequences but we’re gonna sit on our hands instead?

    There are things that are complicated, but this just isn’t one of them. I truly think people will get that. Just need to get over the initial hysteria that surrounds any mention of this Act.

  25. - Pundent - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:29 pm:

    =Under the “logic” of the lefties here, abortion should obviously be outlawed.=

    No because pregnancy is not a communicable disease. Trying to equate a vaccine to pregnancy is just silliness.

  26. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    -Under the “logic” of the lefties here, abortion should obviously be outlawed. That would save many more lives than are dying from COVID.-

    Again, slowly, this act wouldn’t criminalize anything and still gives people a choice - get vaccinated, or don’t (but face the consequences imposed by your employer, etc. if you don’t). Pro-Lifers want to remove the choice for women completely and even criminalize their behavior. Big difference. As for all the “lives” saved, who is going to take care of them… you?

  27. - Norseman - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    Applause for IHA. How about you, ISMS? The GOP used to care what you thought.

  28. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:38 pm:

    ===How about you, ISMS?===

    I asked. Still waiting.

  29. - Norseman - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:47 pm:

    Ron, perhaps we should get simpler for the folks to understand. Let’s go with Dick and Jane.

    See Jane, see Dick.
    Dick gets Jane preggy.
    Jane doesn’t want to be preggy.
    Jane gets abortion.
    Dick sad, but healthy.

    Jane gets vaccinated, Dick doesn’t.
    Dick gets COVID.
    Dick spreads it to Jane, Jane’s parents and Spot.
    Dick dies, Jane’s parents die, Spot dies, Jane gets seriously ill.

    Moral of the story. Jane’s decision only affects her health. Dick’s decision affects the lives and health of several others.

  30. - JS Mill - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 1:59 pm:

    What Henry Francis said x2

  31. - Photo-graffer - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 2:50 pm:

    - who is going to take care of them… you? -

    The pro-aborts are always throwing out this line that has an obvious answer, the child’s parents..

  32. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 2:55 pm:

    -The pro-aborts are always throwing out this line that has an obvious answer, the child’s parents.-

    Or they can’t and end up legally dropping them off with first responders, and we collectively get to do it using tax dollars. Big government and all that.

  33. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 3:07 pm:

    Photo-graffer wants women to be forced to raise children with their rapists, and not only that, but give rapists full parental rights.

    That’s quite a take

  34. - wildcat12 - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 3:32 pm:

    PurpleDog - dioceses that are handing out the exemptions are doing so in defiance of the Pope and the official stance of the Catholic Church.

  35. - wildcat12 - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 3:34 pm:

    Also, the Vatican is mandating that its employees receive the vaccine.

  36. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Oct 25, 21 @ 4:23 pm:

    Maybe: “This Act applies to licensed health care workers in the performance of their official duties. Nothing in the Act shall be construed as conferring any right or status on any individual other than a licensed health care worker, or on those workers except in the performance of their official duties.”

  37. - Jaded Rabbit - Tuesday, Oct 26, 21 @ 2:51 pm:

    Why all the extremes?
    1. Not every person that contracts CoVid will die.

    2. Some believe that life begins at conception. That is the abortion debate. Not the health of the parents.

    3. The amendment is not presented as proactive legislation. It’s a move to remove laws to untie the IL governor’s hands to enforce executive actions.

    When will the debate start about the end of emergency? The legislature has passed sexual education laws (818) but doesn’t think that there is a need for a check on the executive branch? When that happens, the legislative branch is forced to become the check on the executive… Now this amendment is the executive and legislative eliminating the check that the judicial branch is supposed to provide Illinois residents.

    Maybe that’s why 46,000 residents signed opposing witness slips to the 600 that are proponents…

    Just Sayin’.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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