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 Senate Bill 1564, sponsored by State Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative Robyn Gabel, amends the Health Care Right of Conscience Act by requiring health care facilities to create and use access to care protocols if a provider at the facility refuses to perform or assist with a health care service that is contrary to his or her conscience (moral or religious beliefs).

Under current law, a physician or health care provider is not required to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, recommend, or refer any medical practice or health care service that is contrary to their conscience. Physicians and health care personnel are still obligated under law, however, to provide emergency medical care.

SB 1564 will ensure patients receive timely access to information and medically appropriate care, thus, protecting patients’ right to quality care.  Signed today by Governor Rauner, SB 1564 will require all health care facilities to develop and adopt written access to care protocols for conscience-based refusals. The purpose of the information protocols is to ensure that conscience-based objections do not impair patients’ health and care.  
According to Gabel, “This new law will ensure that patients have all the information they need to make decisions about their medical care while protecting health care providers’ right of conscience.  I am hopeful that this law will alleviate the unnecessary suffering that so many women reported to me.”

The bill’s language reflects a compromise between the ACLU, the Catholic Conference, the Catholic Health Care Association and the Illinois State Medical Society.

The following can be attributed to Lorie Chaiten, Director of the ACLU of Illinois Reproductive Rights Project:
“Senate Bill 1564 ensures that each patient in Illinois now can be assured that they will have complete information, so that they can make the best medical decision for themselves and their families. These medical decisions, we expect, will be guided by a patient¹s individual condition and his or her personal beliefs. Senate Bill 1564 means that when Illinois patients go into an exam room, they do not need to worry that they are being denied medical information based on their health care provider’s religious beliefs. In short, this bill protects patients when health care providers exercise religious refusals.”     

 For any questions or concerns about state-related issues, please contact Gabel’s constituent service office located at 820 Davis Street Suite 103 in Evanston, by phone at 847-424-9898 or by email at staterepgabel@robyngabel.com.