SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Senate passed a bill Friday that would limit the ability of pro-life advocates to convince women to seek alternatives to abortion.
Senate Bill 1909 prohibits pregnancy crisis centers from using “deceptive practices” to discourage women from getting an abortion.
Sen. Celina Villaneuva (D-Chicago) said, “We must ensure that women who are seeking reproductive health care are protected from deceptive and misleading practices. At a time when they are already vulnerable, they must have peace of mind that they won’t be taken advantage of.”
The bill targets crisis pregnancy centers that “advertise themselves as healthcare clinics but offer limited services and are primarily intended to discourage women from getting an abortion,” Villaneuva said.
The bill prohibits the use of deceptive practices to interfere with an individual seeking to gain entry or access to the provider of an abortion or emergency contraceptives, induce an individual to enter a limited services pregnancy center, in advertising, soliciting, or otherwise offering pregnancy-related services, or in providing pregnancy-related services.
She said that many centers give misleading information overstating the risks associated with abortion.
Villaneuva continued, “Deceptive practices at crisis pregnancy centers –such as delayed prenatal care – can lead to severe health conditions that women may have to live with for the rest of their lives. As Illinois has become an oasis for reproductive health care since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it is our responsibility to keep fighting for residents to have access to choice without consequence.”
The bill, if signed into law, would allow the Attorney General’s Office to shut down and fine, up to $50,000, any crisis pregnancy center found to be in violation.
Sen. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) released a statement after the bill’s passage, saying, “Rather than having a debate like we’ve had in the past, we’re weaponizing the Attorney General’s Office and allowing him to harass and criminalize not-for-profit entities that help people across the state, just because they offer an alternative to the establishment’s point of view.”
“Let there be no mistake, Senate Bill 1909 is a bill designed to weaponize our state’s Attorney General’s Office against pregnancy resource centers for so-called deceptive practices merely because they do not actively promote abortion procedures,” Sen. Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) said.
“The Attorney General’s Office already has the authority and ability to go after fraud and deceptive practices under Illinois’ consumer protection laws if they are committed by any pregnancy center, whether they are pro or anti-abortion. The real reason the Majority Party is pushing for this legislation, is to silence the voice of any Illinois resident who disagrees with their pro-abortion beliefs,” Stoller continued.