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On February 9, the Illinois General Assembly introduced two bills—one in the House, one in the Senate—both entitled the “Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act.” The contents of HB 2463, introduced by State Representative Terra Costa Howard (D-Lombard) and SB 1909, introduced by State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) are identical, and both bills seek to radically curtail the operations of “limited services pregnancy centers.”
Perhaps the most striking feature of these bills is their specious use of language. “Limited services pregnancy center” is the language applied to crisis pregnancy centers, clinics that offer life-saving services to pregnant mothers, usually free of charge. These services include ultrasounds, counseling, baby clothes and diapers, and have been a staple of Christian pro-life work for decades Just how are the centers limited? Of course they won’t deliver babies—but neither will Planned Parenthood. In reality, their services are “limited” only in the sense that they won’t provide abortions.
The sponsors of these bills are attempting to punish pregnancy centers, a vital part of the pro-life cause, for their unwillingness to commit murder. Calling them “limited services pregnancy centers” is pure mockery, designed to create the impression that the value they offer to their clients is negligible, or at best insufficient.
Of course, this kind of doublespeak should be no surprise—these are the same people who call murder “reproductive health” and miraculously discovered a “right to privacy” in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And how could we forget about Planned Parenthood, which exists only because of unplanned parenthood.
The bills also refer to the services of crisis pregnancy centers as “deceptive.” This deception is defined principally as “advertising, soliciting, or otherwise offering pregnancy-related services” that do not include abortions. Should we talk about how abortion mills deceive women by telling them that abortion is a morally licit—and even commendable—act?
But let’s get to the bill itself. How the bill defines violations of the statute is perhaps the most shocking part. It is shocking not for its harshness or explicit sanctions against crisis pregnancy centers, but because of its vague and cunningly crafted language. The bill grants the Attorney General the right to penalize a crisis pregnancy center if it “appears” that it has “engaged in, is engaging in, or was about to engage in [a deceptive] method, act, or practice.”
Once again, what is “deceptive?” It is defined only by the crisis pregnancy center’s unwillingness to preform abortions. The penalties for “deceptive practices” include fines up to $50,000 dollars—a fatal blow to most crisis pregnancy centers—and that money is to be put to use in going after more pregnancy centers for these supposed violations. .
It is hard to overstate this. These bills stand to be incredibly damaging to the pro-life movement in Illinois and would likely result in the closure of many crisis pregnancy centers. And of course, if these bills pass, it won’t stop at the crisis pregnancy centers—the next bill will prevent churches and pastors from preaching against murder or counseling their parishioners not to seek abortions. Satan is hard at work to curtail Christians and life. We must be prayerfully hard at work to defend Christ and life. Thanks be to God, we know Christ has already won the victory. But He is counting on us to be His hands and feet in defending His Word here on earth.
Take ACTION: Click HERE to send a message to your state representative and state senator asking them to leave crisis pregnancy centers alone by voting against HB 2463 and SB 1909. Tell them that pregnancy care centers do not engage in “deceptive practices” but rather vital life-giving work. The people at these centers minister to needy, vulnerable women and children and are supported by people of faith across the state who want to be a blessing.
More ACTION: Click HERE to fill out a witness slip in opposition to HB 2463. The Health Care Availability & Accessibility Committee has a 4 PM hearing set for Tuesday, March 7th.
-Fill out your name, address, email and phone number. Leave everything else blank or put self.
-Highlight “Opponent” and “Record of Appearance Only.”
-Check Terms of Agreement and click Create Slip.
How A Pregnancy Center Saved Me From Homelessness, Addiction, And Despair (The Federalist)