BLOGI’m Sorry, Illinois and Hawaii, But You Shouldn’t Be Receiving Federal Funding. Here’s Why.

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | September 12, 2017

Did you know that both Illinois and Hawaii have passed laws that are putting their federal funding in jeopardy?

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed complaints on Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of pro-life healthcare professionals and pregnancy centers in Illinois and Hawaii, where laws have been passed forcing them to promote abortion.

So, what does that have to do with the federal funding for these two states?

Well, federal law does not allow states that receive federal funding to force pro-life healthcare professionals to act against their conscience or religious beliefs. These laws squarely violate those federal protections.

But there’s more.

Besides the obvious constitutional violations at play here – violations of both the U.S. and individual state constitutions – Illinois has a third strike. The state Healthcare Right of Conscience Act also protects these pregnancy centers.

But it seems that Illinois and Hawaii care more about promoting a pro-abortion agenda than protecting their citizens’ constitutional rights. These laws seek to make pro-life pregnancy centers abandon their mission and promote abortion to further the state’s agenda.

Here’s a more detailed look at what each law does:

  • Under Illinois law, pro-life doctors and pregnancy centers are required to refer for abortions. And they must tell their patients that abortion is a “treatment option” for pregnancy, which has “benefits.” ADF has filed both state and federal lawsuits challenging this law.
  • Under Hawaii law, pro-life pregnancy centers are required to post large signs or provide fliers which advertise that the “state of Hawaii provides free or low-cost access to comprehensive planning services” and direct them to a state website and phone number where their patients are referred for abortion and abortion-causing drugs. ADF has filed a federal lawsuit challenging this law.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated cases. In fact, ADF is representing pro-life pregnancy centers in California against a similar law, and has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. Not to mention that courts have struck down – or mostly invalidated – similar laws in Texas, Maryland, and New York.

One of the foundational freedoms of our country is the right to speak the messages we want and refuse to speak the messages we don’t. But these laws force pregnancy centers to speak a message that violates their deepest convictions, and promote a practice that they have dedicated their careers to preventing.

“Government officials shouldn’t be allowed to force anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry,” said ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves. “Furthermore, federal law simply doesn’t allow it. States that compel pro-life doctors and staff to act contrary to their conscience do not qualify for federal funds.”


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Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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